City report card: Trybull facing fresh start after falling out of favour
Daniel Farke certainly gave Tom Trybull a fair crack of the whip in the Premier League but the midfielder finished the season in the shadows at Norwich City.
Ever since impressing during a trial spell after Farke’s arrival in 2017 the Berlin native has been a player his head coach has often trusted in big games. The opening night at Liverpool? Trybull was starting. The restart clash with Southampton? There he was again.
Yet it seems the 27-year-old’s form after the season resumed may well have persuaded City it’s time for a parting of the ways, with reports emerging this week that he is alongside Mo Leitner and Josip Drmic in being allowed to look for a new challenge.
That has caught some supporters by surprise, given the German’s popularity during his first two seasons with the club, earning him the chant of “super Tommy Trybull”.
After a 3-1 win at Brentford in the League Cup third round in September 2017, as the former Werder Bremen and St Pauli battler really started to establish himself for Norwich, Farke was full of praise.
“I don’t want to praise him too much because maybe Chelsea or Manchester United get an idea or whatever,” Farke joked at Griffin Park. “To be fair, since he has joined the squad he had to work a lot on his conditioning but he improved from day to day and now from game to game. It was a brilliant performance.
“He was great in possession, he played finishing passes, he was really aggressive in each one on one duel. I am really happy he is in our squad.”
It was an impressive start for a player signed on a free transfer after a year in Holland with Den Haag, having seen injuries knock his promising career off course, after being capped four times at under-20 level by Germany.
It was an ankle injury which caused Trybull to miss much of the second half of his first City season but 31 appearances during 2018-19 saw him play a big part in the Championship title triumph, playing almost every minute of an eight-game winning streak which teed up promotion.
That ensured he started the first four games of the Premier League campaign, before another ankle problem kept him out for a month, after a 2-0 defeat at West Ham during which he was very fortunate to not concede a penalty.
He was soon back in the starting XI but was paired with Kenny McLean centrally for the last time during the damaging 2-0 home defeat to Watford - when he missed the chance to halt Gerard Deulofeu after Emi Buendia’s early mistake.
It was mostly alongside Alex Tettey in the heart of midfield when he played a significant part in an encouraging run of form though, when a win at Everton was followed by the Canaries taking the lead in six of their next eight games, only to somehow emerge with just four draws.
It was after a 2-2 draw that Farke was describing Trybull as “probably the saddest person in the dressing room” though, after being introduced in the 75th minute with City leading 2-1 and losing possession to allow Spurs to break and win the penalty from which Harry Kane would equalise.
Three FA Cup starts did follow but just two league appearances followed, starting the awful 3-0 home loss to Southampton as the season resumed and being taken off at half-time during the 4-0 thrashing at Arsenal.
Statistics only tell part of the story but Trybull would no doubt be keen to point out a few key indicators in his favour when discussing this campaign.
Firstly, only a few players in the Premier League had a higher average pass success percentage than his 92pc from 16 appearances. However, he did play half as many minutes as Alex Tettey (88.1pc) and Ben Godfrey (87.9pc), who were his closest rivals.
Similarly in the tackle stakes, he was tied with Sam Byram with an average of 2.4 per game, although the defender played one game more. Emi Buendia was only just behind (2.3) but made 36 appearances.
WhoScored.com actually rated him as City’s seventh-best player with an average rating of 6.51 across the season but with no goals and no assists to his name, that means little in a squad which were relegated and finished the season 13 points adrift after 10 successive defeats.
That means a changing of the guard and while Trybull has proved what he’s capable of previously, and is under contract until 2022 with the option for a further year, it seems his time in Norfolk may have run its course.
He has not quite emerged as a successor to Tettey as an outright defensive presence and doesn’t quite have the creativity of Mario Vrancic, but most Canaries fans will still be happy if he does opt to stick around.