Iwan Roberts: ‘I hope Adam Idah bought Teemu a beer or two’

PUBLISHED: 19:00 17 September 2020

Goal scorer Adam Idah turns to thank Teemu Pukki after hitting the winner at Huddersfield
 Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Goal scorer Adam Idah turns to thank Teemu Pukki after hitting the winner at Huddersfield Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

When you’ve not won a competitive game of football for 191 days and lost your last 11 games in the process, you’ve simply got to find a way to change that trend and somehow muster a win of any sorts - and that’s exactly what the lads did up at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium.

Craig Bellamy and Iwan Roberts celebrate a Norwich City goal - the big man never got his goal for Wales, no thanks to his club and country team-mate Picture: ArchantCraig Bellamy and Iwan Roberts celebrate a Norwich City goal - the big man never got his goal for Wales, no thanks to his club and country team-mate Picture: Archant

It didn’t look like a classic – a lot of opening day fixtures never are as players are still not at maximum fitness, but all credit to the lads as they stuck to their task and got the all-important first goal.

Job done and now time to look ahead to Preston at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Big congratulations to Adam Idah on scoring his first league goal for the Canaries. I hope he bought Teemu Pukki a couple of pints on Saturday night after his strike partner set him up beautifully, putting the ball on a plate with a knife and fork for the young Irishman to smash the ball home into an empty net.

I thought it was great play by Teemu, and so unselfish of him considering the form that he’s in. Perhaps it shows just how low his confidence is by not taking the opportunity himself, but the opportunity was by no means a gimme. As a former centre forward he 100 per cent did the right thing, as he knew that squaring the ball to Idah virtually guaranteed a goal,,, unless Adam had a Ronny Rosenthal moment, which thankfully he didn’t!

I’ve played with players who would never have passed me the ball in that situation.

Craig Bellamy would never had passed once he was through one on one. He was shooting no matter that he had a team-mate in a better position.

Darren Huckerby, on the other hand, would pass the ball 10 times out of 10 if he knew we’d be guaranteed to score. It’s down to the individual player at the end of the day, and I can fully understand a player desperate to score the goal themselves.

Talking of Bellers, I remember playing for Wales away in Portugal in a friendly on June 2, 2000, and Craig and I were up front. We’d struck a really good partnership up front for Norwich over the previous couple of seasons, and Mark Hughes had seen us develop into a formidable strike force in the Championship.

The reason I tell this story is because I never scored for my country, which really hurts me, but I would have had Craig squared a ball to me in that game. We were 1-0 down after 21 minutes thanks to a Luis Figo goal, but in the final few minutes of the first half, Craig raced through down the left-hand side. By the time he’d reached the penalty box Fernando Couto had got back and forced him onto his left foot and into the tightest of angles on the left-hand side of their six-yard box.

I had managed to stay five yards behind Craig and as he got his head up in that final second before making his decision to shoot from a tough angle or to square the ball to me – who was completely unmarked four 4 yards out from goal – he... yes, you guessed it, shot straight into the side netting.

I was furious, as were all the lads, and told him in no certain terms. Even Mark Hughes at half-time had a pop at Craig for being so selfish. We could see his best option was to square the ball to me to slot it into an empty net and take us in at the break level at 1-1.

To this day, Craig says he tried to find me and that he was crossing not shooting, but it was on his left foot and that’s why the ball ended up in the side netting and not at my feet!!

Don’t worry, I didn’t believe a word of it – and we went on to lose the game 3-0.

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