David Freezer: Idah in sweet spot which should keep pressure off his shoulders at Old Trafford
Youthful exuberance and a dash of naivety played a major role in Norwich City’s rise to the Premier League – and will hopefully help prevent Adam Idah from feeling too much pressure on his big day at Old Trafford as well.
The 18-year-old has already enjoyed a week straight from Roy of the Rovers, seeing his name up in lights on the national stage in England and back home in Ireland, scoring a landmark hat-trick which could have teed up his professional career perfectly.
Not only did his impressive Deepdale treble make him City's youngest ever scorer but he was also the youngest player to score an FA Cup hat-trick, from the third round onwards, in 64 years.
It's clearly an exciting time for a player who has claimed the club's academy player-of-the-season prize, the Etty Smith Award, at the end of both of his seasons as a Norwich player so far. This football lark must be feeling easy for him at the moment and long may that continue.
It looks highly likely that Idah will get his first league start this afternoon, with Teemu Pukki and Josip Drmic not quite fit to return in time for the always difficult task of going to Manchester United, even if they are enduring a slightly difficult spell under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
That could well be daunting for a young man but the impressive Republic of Ireland Under-21 international is in something of a sweet spot, with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If things don't go to plan and he endures a disappointing afternoon, even the emotionally unstable keyboard warriors who enjoy a meltdown in the wake of a defeat will struggle to point the finger at the new kid on the block. Particularly after a game at Old Trafford, for a team sat bottom of the table.
Instead, he can play with freedom, do his best to defend from the front when possible and concentrate on using his pace by making runs behind the United defenders, offering options for City's creative midfielders, just as he did for Marco Stiepermann ahead of his opening goal at Preston and in the build-up to Onel Hernandez's strike.
Some may question how the Canaries have allowed themselves to get into the position of not having a senior striker available for a Premier League game, yet that was always looking a risk with Drmic brought in as Pukki's chief support.
The former Monchengladbach man has had his career severely disrupted by injuries in recent seasons so always looked like a 'project player' that Daniel Farke could see huge potential reward from, similar to the chances given to players such as Tom Trybull, Tim Krul and Moritz Leitner, players trying to get their careers back on track.
That hasn't worked out, yet, for Drmic with his one goal and eight games spread across just 114 minutes of Premier League action. He has a Euro 2020 place to try and earn though, so is sure to be fired up to prove City were correct to have faith in his ability to compete with Pukki.
Dennis Srbeny could also have come in to contention for today, had his sale to Paderborn not already been wrapped up, but frankly a fresh start was needed for all parties after limited opportunities to impress.
All of which leaves the path clear for Idah. If he thought this week was exciting, just try it after scoring a winner at Old Trafford.
- IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY...
Finally, amid the struggles of a Premier League survival scrap, I bring you a bit of fun from the often infuriating world of Twitter.
Sparked by some artwork from @NorwichCityHQ which superimposed some of the current Canaries onto the poster for the latest Star Wars movie, the quest to find a City related team began - prompting some stellar efforts.
Norwich City Star Wars XI: Keelan-do Calrissian, C3-Pinto, Queen Amadou, Christ-Hoth Zimmermann, Javier Greedo, Darth McVeighder, May the force be with Youssef Safri, Wesley Hoola-Han Solo, Jabba the Huck, Luciano Chew-Becchio, Teemu Wookie
Subs: Bry-Gunn Jinn, Moritz Leitspeed, Rey-mond De Waard, Boba Fleck, Ob-Iwan Kenobi, Poe Dameron Jerome
Manager: Mike Sky-Walker