Norwich City Report Card: Don't blame Yanic
PUBLISHED: 16:51 30 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 30 May 2018
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Yanic Wildschut was dealt a tough hand last season. Paddy Davitt assesses whether he can still convince those who matter, in the latest of our report card series
Yanic Wildschut may nominally be a card-carrying wide player but a season where he failed to make a lasting impact on not one but two clubs started and finished in defence.
Wildschut is part of a fairly select clique within Norwich City’s squad; inherited players seemingly not at the front of Daniel Farke’s thoughts.
Steven Naismith, Russell Martin and in all probability Matt Jarvis are placed in the same category now.
The more uncharitable City supporters feel they are a drain on ever-diminishing financial reserves. But that is hardly the fault of Wildschut, or his pals.
The Dutch midfielder was the last big statement of intent from Alex Neil, in the January 2017 transfer window. Neil limped on for another two months but Wildschut to this stage hardly looks a lasting legacy to cherish - albeit the headline sums bandied around when he arrived from Wigan on that particular deadline day are well wide of the mark.
Nevertheless there has been a negligible return on the investment made by the previous regime holding the Carrow Road purse strings.
The 26-year-old actually featured 20 times for Farke in league and cup battles over the past campaign. But at no point did you get the sense he had gained the head coach’s trust.
Not in the same way James Maddison or latterly Alex Tettey and Harrison Reed emerged as key parts of the German’s battleplan.
Again, much like the transfer fee Wildschut had no control over, exist grounds for mitigation. Farke deployed him in a right wing-back role back on the opening day of the Championship season against a Fulham side who would end it in the Premier League.
Wildschut’s defensive naivety was exposed for the Cottagers’ opening strike, when Ryan Sessegnon got the wrong side of the former Middlesbrough man to deliver a cross Martin could only turn past Angus Gunn.
Nelson Oliveira levelled late on before his bare-chested protest spared a more forensic examination of whether Wildschut could be converted into a flying wing-back. Certainly his best work by the Thames that August day was in the final third.
Farke had clearly made up his mind by January.
What followed was an intriguing loan stint at a resurgent Cardiff City.
The Bluebirds may have soared to ever greater heights, in what must surely go down as one of Neil Warnock’s most impressive promotion successes. But Wildschut was a bystander for the defining run-in.
A costly defensive error in a 3-1 Championship defeat at Derby County in mid-April, that led to the Rams taking the lead, brought a stinging rebuke.
“Before he went on, I told him to make sure if he’s in the defensive half not to do anything silly, so he obviously listened to me, didn’t he?,” said Warnock.
“We all make mistakes don’t we and it’s a good lesson, not just for him, but a good lesson for the other lads and I’ve been saying that to lads in different areas of the pitch.
“It’s a simple lesson you’ve got to learn and unfortunately for Yanic, it’s a hard thing to learn.”
Warnock looks unlikely to repeat the experiment as he strives to recruit upgrades to a squad who face a battle for top flight survival.
Which leaves Wildschut in something of a holding pattern approaching the final year of his City deal.
Time has already moved on with the arrival of Onel Hernandez down the right hand side.
More attacking options will follow this summer.
Much like Martin, Naismith and the injury-prone Jarvis a lasting break may be best for all parties concerned.