Holt will still have a big say for Norwich City
©Focus Images Limited firstname.lastname@example.org +44814 482222
Grant Holt’s finished at Norwich City, right?
He hasn’t started the last three games for the Canaries, which must mean manager Paul Lambert has made up his mind that the former Shrewsbury striker isn’t up to Premier League football.
To use one of the City manager’s phrases: ‘Are you kidding me on?’
We are all far too keen to try and cast aside players altogether when in fact their role within the squad has simply changed.
Only the most optimistic of fans would have expected City’s player of the year for the last two seasons to have the same impact in the top flight.
Coming up against the calibre of defender like John Terry or Branislav Ivanovic was always going to be a different ball game compared to the chaos he wreaked on sides in the Championship and League One.
But it never ceases to amaze me how quick some people are to toss players on the scraphead when they are no longer automatic starters. Does this mean they still aren’t important squad players? Of course not.
Lambert has preferred Steve Morison up front on his own recently with Wes Hoolahan just behind the Welshman and Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington providing service from the flanks.
The sight of Holt on the substitutes’ bench is not something that fans are used to, given his exploits over the last two seasons. Having spoken to the man on several occasions I would imagine it’s not something he wants to happen too regularly either.
But the system that Lambert has employed recently without Holt has worked: two wins against Bolton and Sunderland whilst giving the Premier League champions an almighty scare speaks for itself.
David Fox and Hoolahan have been key players in this revival, but they have had to bide their time so far this season whilst Lambert works out the best way of tackling this Premier League challenge.
Holt will have to do the same, but to think that he no longer remains an important part of City’s squad is wholly premature.
While there may be other strikers at the club who possess more pace, is there anyone else fans would rather bring on in the last 20 minutes if the Canaries needed a goal? Does anyone else in the Norwich squad hold the ball up as well as he does? Personally, I don’t think so.
Only last month Holt was being lauded for the tough afternoon he gave Terry at Stamford Bridge, but fast forward a few weeks and some are already putting the 30-year-old out to pasture.
Frank Lampard experienced a similar situation at Chelsea recently when manager Andre Villas-Boas dropped the midfielder and Fabio Capello informed him he would be on the bench for England’s European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria.
The media furore that followed was absolutely ludicrous. Anyone would have thought from some of the headlines that Lampard had decided to throw in the towel on his Chelsea career and decided he would be better off acting as Christine Bleakley’s chauffeur for the foreseebale future.
Lampard’s response? A vital away goal in the Champions League against Valencia followed up by a hat-trick in the Blues’ 5-1 win t Bolton.
Villas-Boas knows Lampard still has a great deal to offer the Londoners and Lambert has learned in his time with the Canaries just what Holt can offer both on and off the pitch.
Would anyone be that surprised to see Holt start against Swansea this weekend, and score?
So perhaps we should save the obituaries on Holt’s career with the Canaries – there’s plenty of time for him to confirm the legendary status he has already earned with some City supporters.