Pundit watch: Ashton, Dublin, Ferdinand, Eadie and Newman have their say on City’s struggles
PUBLISHED: 11:43 05 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 05 July 2020
Pundits swiftly turned their attentions to a Championship rebuild as defeat to Brighton left Norwich City on the verge of relegation - and a host of former Canaries players with questions about the future.
Former City striker Dean Ashton gave his reaction to the 1-0 loss as Daniel Farke’s players laid on the Carrow Road turf knowing that their fate had been all but sealed by the loss, with five games remaining.
“You need big characters at times like this and you’ve got to show some pride,” Ashton told Talk Sport. “In that second half, with the changes they made especially, they showed a bit of fight, they showed that they cared and that is ultimately what the supporters want to see, the least they expect.
“If you do that and it’s not quite good enough then you can hold your hands up. In that first half it wasn’t good enough whatsoever, so you don’t mind seeing that fight in the second half.
“The reactions at the end of that game says everything about where these two clubs are at, the way Brighton celebrated and the management team, they know how big that is, that’s pretty much Premier League safety.
“And for Norwich, the players were all on the floor, I think they realised that could be it.”
Another former Canaries striker, Dion Dublin, feels there will be plenty of work needed in the transfer market if sporting director Stuart Webber and head coach Daniel Farke are to keep their overall project on track.
Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, Dublin said: “Norwich’s biggest problem isn’t going down, because that’s inevitable now, it’s can they hold on to the likes of Aarons, Lewis, Cantwell, Pukki and Godfrey?
“If they all go, because they are very good individuals and there’s lots of Premier League clubs that would take them and they would fit in, I don’t know how Norwich are going to find their way back.”
Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand - who mentors Ben Godfrey through his connection to the City defender’s agents - was on duty for BT Sport after full-time and backed Webber and Farke to manage a successful rebuild.
“There’s going to be a reshuffle,” said Ferdinand. “That always happens when teams are relegated from the Premier League, that’s natural, but in terms of players they need legs, they’ve got a real lack of pace in this team.
“There’s not cutting edge. Pukki and Cantwell are their main source of goals, they didn’t play today, five goals throughout the team that started from this season.
“It doesn’t bode well and it tells you why they are down where they are.
“I’m sure the recruitment will be fast-working behind the scenes to bring in some players - but I think Norwich is in a good place as a football club to be able to bounce back.”
Meanwhile, the raw emotions were clear for City legends Darren Eadie and Rob Newman as they reviewed the game for the NR1 Live show on the club’s official website - also being joined by Canaries academy manager Steve Weaver.
Eadie said at full-time: “Well I think that’s probably Norwich’s season over, isn’t it, Rob? They’ve had their best opportunity, they had to win that one, and I think the disappointment is again that 20 or 25 minutes from the end we’ve seen a bit of creativity, lads breaking lines and creating a few things, but apart from that it was all very much the same up until that point.”
To which Newman responded: “I think when the three subs were made you automatically saw the change, the endeavour, the work rate. If you were a defender for Brighton for 60 minutes, you’d say I’m happy, I’m comfortable here.”
He continued: “Until the last 20 minutes Norwich didn’t look like they were going to score, basically, it was as simple as that, and that’s worrying.
“The last 20 minutes there were positives, Cantwell and Pukki came on but most importantly Adam Idah came on and he put the defenders under pressure, he hit the post with a header.
“If he’d have started, who knows? The moment’s gone but it’s disappointment because today was really the last day that you had any kind of chance. If we are going to stay up you have to win that game and Brighton are in no great shape, to go out with a whimper a bit like we’ve done, it’s disappointing.”
And it was the youth theme which continued as Weaver joined the conversation, after a game which had finished with five academy products on the pitch.
Academy manager Weaver said: “I feel your frustrations and it’s difficult. Obviously I am pleased for Adam (Idah) to get 25 minutes to show what he can do.
“It’s always bittersweet, it always feels better when your first team is winning and you want your players to be part of something in a winning team, so it’s hard to come on here and say ‘how great it is for the kids’ when the first team have been beaten. We win and lose together.
“It will stand them in good stead going forward, to be part of something like this.”
- You can listen to the latest edition of the Pink Un Podcast above, as our Canaries correspondents discussed what lies ahead in the wake of the defeat to Brighton