Tettey approaching City milestone as key role under Farke continues
PUBLISHED: 06:30 21 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:15 21 December 2018
Earlier this year it looked like Alex Tettey's time at Norwich City was coming to an end - but instead the midfield lynchpin is on the verge of passing a major milestone.
If Tettey keeps his place for Saturday’s game at Blackburn it will be a 200th Canaries appearance for the 32-year-old, who is now in his seventh season with the club.
The former Norway international’s next match in City colours will move him clear of John Deehan into 70th place in the all-time appearances list, one short of Ken Foggo and Les Eyre on 201.
He’ll also be in reach of the likes of Darren Huckerby (203), Darren Eadie (203) and Neil Adams, in 60th place on 206. So should Tettey remain a first-choice regular under Daniel Farke this season, he should have a decent shot at overtaking Ruel Fox, in 56th on 219.
The tough tackling Canaries favourite could even have a shot of reaching the top 50, having signed a two-year contract during the final week of last season, to take his stay through to 2020.
To make that top 50 the Ghana-born battler will have to surpass the 232 appearances achieved by World Cup winner Martin Peters and Scottish defender Malky Mackay – and to do that Tettey will have to continue as a regular under Farke.
When the German took over as head coach in the summer of 2017, bringing higher technical demands of midfielders, it looked like the former Rennes and Rosenberg man was set for a role as a fringe player during the final year of his contract.
After spending the first four league games of Farke’s reign on the bench, Tettey emerged to play a key role in starting an eight-game unbeaten run in the Championship, bringing balance to an off-kilter team.
However, a calf injury kept the physical competitor out for two months and by the time he was fit again, form had nosedived and the transitional first season under Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber was teetering on a cliff edge.
The fan favourite returned at Birmingham on Boxing Day and provided pivotal ballast once again in a 2-0 win. City lost just one of 12 league games with Tettey back on the front line.
He even started wearing the captain’s armband regularly during the second half of last season, with Ivo Pinto falling out of favour, as his revival continued amid regular speculation about his future.
A return to Rosenborg and a reunion with Alex Neil at Preston were among the rumours as it looked like Tettey would be on his way in the summer.
All the attention was on Wes Hoolahan as the Irishman said farewell during an emotional 2-1 win over Leeds in the final home game of the last campaign, but what about Tettey?
The midfielder missed that game with a back strain, leaving uncertainty, until the situation was turned on its head when news broke that City had offered a new two-year contract, albeit on significantly reduced wages.
With no tempting offers forthcoming and his family settled in Norfolk, it proved enough to keep an experienced head in the dressing room amid more squad evolvement in the off-season.
In turn the man who once fired the Canaries to a rare Old Trafford victory, just before Christmas three years ago, has become a crucial part of Farke’s team becoming the surprise package of this season’s Championship promotion race.
Having retired from international action in March 2017 to protect his creaking knees – after 34 caps and three goals for Norway – Tettey has managed to stay clear of injury and suspension.
He has started 20 of 22 league matches and completed all but two of those. There have been a few wobbly moments, bouncing back from a sloppy display against Preston in August by thumping home a late goal to make sure of a 2-0 home win.
He also endured a shaky afternoon during the 2-2 draw at Bristol City on Saturday, narrowly avoiding a second yellow card and losing the ball in the lead up to the hosts’ first goal.
But in the main Tettey has proved as valuable to Farke as he has to his previous Norwich managers – so I wouldn’t bet against him reaching that all-time top 50 just yet.
• 65= Alan Black – 203
65= Thomas Halliday – 203
65= Darren Huckerby – 203
65= Mick McGuire – 203
• 69= Les Eyre – 201
69= Ken Foggo – 201
• 71= ALEX TETTEY – 199
71= John Deehan – 199
• 73 Geoff Butler – 196
• 74 Jimmy Hill – 195
• 75 Mike Phelan – 194