Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 3-1 League Cup win over Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 11:34 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:34 15 August 2018
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Brave boy, Daniel
Given Norwich City had yet to register a win this season after two tight Championship duels, Farke’s decision to make 10 changes from the side that lost to West Brom could have backfired.
The head coach may have questioned such wisdom after a first half when Stevenage exploited some nerves, some youth and some rust.
City turned on the power in the final quarter, as the League Two visitors’ exertions caught up with them, and the head coach should now reap the benefit from resting frontline players for the weekend league trip to Sheffield United. Not to mention first team exposure for a clutch of bright, young things.
Given the first East Anglian derby is on the horizon it is perhaps worth drawing a pertinent parallel with Paul Hurst’s embarrassing exit at Exeter, which extended his quest for a maiden win in Suffolk. Fine margins.
2. Tough for Todd
Cantwell could be many things if he continues his development.
But a wide left midfield option does not immediately strike you as the Dereham’s prospects route to the Norwich first team.
The precocious talented academy prospect was no doubt happy to play anywhere in his full debut for the Canaries, but the increasingly manic gesticulations from his coach during the first half illustrated he was not as comfortable in front of Max Aarons as probing in more familiar central attacking areas.
It was a steep learning curve but also perhaps a measure of the trust Farke has in Cantwell. The youngster stuck to his task before a second half exit. He will be all the better for emerging unscathed from a landmark occasion.
3. Dead eye Dennis
You are almost willing the ball to hit the back of the net now for the German striker, who still has far too many rough edges to seriously lay down a challenge to Jordan Rhodes or for that matter Teemu Pukki.
There was a wild slash at a ball rolled into his path from Moritz Leitner as Norwich moved through the gears before another hesitant stab at Pukki’s square ball the Stevenage keeper was able to shovel over his own bar.
You cannot fault his application or his desire, his work rate and willingness to harass defenders, but we await whether Srbeny can make that leap from the lower reaches of Germany club football to the harsher terrain of the Championship.
His eye-catching cameo at Birmingham on the opening weekend may be his stock in trade for the foreseeable future, unless injury befalls his striker rivals.
4. Moritz Leitner. Discuss
Few if any should doubt the technical quality or the pedigree of the former German Under-21 international. But there remains a debate about just how effective Leitner can be on a routine basis in the rough and tumble of Championship combat.
Much hinges on Farke’s success in melding a midfield mix around the former FC Augsburg import that frees him to dictate the play and set the tempo.
Leitner’s instinctive trigger movement led to a short corner with Cantwell that allowed him to calmly clip a cross to the back post for Marco Stiepermann to open the scoring.
It was a dash of quality in a contest crying out for creativity before the interval.
There was another exquisite turn on the halfway line and a pass for Srbeny who blazed wide in the second period. Get the balance right in a key area of the park and Leitner’s influence can be considerable.
5. Tense time for TT
Remember how good Tom Trybull was alongside Alex Tettey in last season’s Battle of Bramall Lane? You can be sure Farke does, which is why he was understandably concerned at Trybull’s half-time exit with a leg injury.
The full extent of the damage will become clear in the next few days but should Trybull’s brand of composed endeavour be unavailable for the pending return to Championship action, then Farke must switch to Plan B.
Trybull’s omission from the West Brom matchday squad was a huge surprise but given the congested nature of the opening weeks of the campaign, plus a number of team mates who endured abbreviated pre-season build ups, it would not be a huge surprise if Trybull had always been earmarked for a key role against the Blades.
That now hinges on the extent of the damage.