Canaries debate: A half-fit Pukki or a fully fit Idah - who leads the line at Old Trafford?
PUBLISHED: 13:23 08 January 2020
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As a young footballer, first-team opportunities can be hard to come by, even under a youth-enabling head coach like Daniel Farke.
The German has proven during his spell at City that age is no barrier should players perform, as Norwich City youngster Adam Idah could be the next to discover.
Idah has been waiting patiently within the shadows, revising and improving his own game. Injuries brought the 18-year-old to the metaphorical door Farke describes but it was the Irishman who slammed through it.
On only his second senior start, Idah fired Norwich City into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first-time in seven seasons, catching the attention of Republic of Ireland chief Mick McCarthy in the process. The ex-Ipswich Town boss seemingly proffered City's starlet a place in the senior squad after being impressed with the standard of his strikes.
It appeared as though Idah was primed for a loan switch, with numerous clubs in League One queuing up to sign the striker temporarily. Now, City may have found the answer to their lack of options beyond Pukki.
It wasn't merely the hat-trick, but more the manner in which it was constructed. Idah's opening effort saw his use of a clinical piece of movement help him escape the attentions of Preston's defenders before turning on the afterburners to latch himself onto Marco Stiepermann's threaded through pass.
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The second displayed his range of finishing, with Connor Ripley's miscued clearance landing at his feet, leaving Idah with plenty to do from 40 yards. The execution on the strike resembled a chipped shot from an elite golfer, it was precise and the technique superb.
To cap off a fine hat-trick, Idah once again positioned himself on the shoulder of an opposition defender and used his pace to beat the offside trap. His coolly dispatched penalty made him City's youngest ever hat-trick merchant.
Pukki's intelligent movement and ruthlessness in front of goal has seen him grab plenty of headlines, but elements of Idah's performance at Deepdale were reminiscent of the qualities the Finn possesses. Given City find themselves without their top-scorer, is now the time to unleash Idah in the Premier League?
With Josip Drmic and Dennis Srbeny also doubtful for Saturday's clash with Manchester United, that may present the chance for Idah to make his Premier League bow at the Theatre of Dreams.
It could all hinge on the fitness of Pukki but given the importance of a home encounter against Bournemouth a week later, Farke may elect to present a fully-fit Idah with a chance over a half-fit Pukki.
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