So why was I singing Gilbert O'Sullivan?

PUBLISHED: 13:43 16 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:24 10 September 2010

Tim Allman, Capital Canaries

I don't know why the title of a Gilbert O'Sullivan song came from nowhere into my head when I was travelling home on Thursday evening. I have never liked his songs or his music, but I couldn't help humming the tune as walked down the Kenton Road.

I don't know why the title of a Gilbert O'Sullivan song came from nowhere into my head when I was travelling home on Thursday evening. I have never liked his songs or his music, but I couldn't help humming the tune as walked down the Kenton Road. All it did through was reinforce my opinion on what I had seen on Tuesday evening at Carrow Road.

There are always plenty of differing views of how we see a football match. Sometimes I don't agree with the selection or think a different player should be given a chance or a change formation is required. Initially I wasn't that appreciative of how the Norwich midfield was set up with one wide player and three more centrally based players, but I've got used to it now, and after the run of results who can argue with its effectiveness?

Sometimes a substitution is made and I'm scratching my head saying “Why?”. But what do I know of what has happened in training that week? Has the player been ill, been off form, picked up a knock or been carrying an injury that we don't know about? “And why was that player a sub in the first place?”, I ask myself as he puts in a twenty minute cameo performance that changes the game.

The answer to all these questions is that the manager almost inevitably knows best. He or his coaching staff have seen the squad all week and make their selection and tactical decisions based on years of experience of knowing both our and the opposition's players. All I see is ninety minutes each Saturday or Tuesday. It would be more if I watched the warm up, but pre-match pub time is a precious commodity.

As regards the selection, I expected it would be same again on Tuesday after our win in Cardiff. When I heard the team news, I was more than curious as to exactly why Kieran Gibbs got the nod to start the game against Hull. Norwich had won their last three games by the odd goal, admittedly not playing the best football in the world, but with a gritty determination, some solid defending, and a couple of goal of the season contenders.

Kieran Gibbs had not been selected in the sixteen for either of the two games he had been eligible to play in. He was however picked ahead of both Matty Pattison and Darren Huckerby, and also ahead of Mo Camara who missed out altogether, presumably as he was the sixth loan player, and only five can be named in the squad.

As regards the reason for his selection, Gibbs had been outstanding in training during the time he had been at the club, and Glenn Roeder said in an article this week. “From what I've seen in training, I can see why Arsene Wenger thinks he's one of his top young talents.”, so maybe it was no surprise that he was in the team for the Hull game.

Perhaps Gibbs left his excellent form at Colney, or strived too hard to impress the visiting Arsenal coaching staff who had come especially to see the game, as his debut did not live up to expectations, and he was subbed after an hour having struggled to get into the game at all.

The terms of Gibbs' loan deal, which was announced on 31st January on the Norwich City Official site reads, “Arsenal can recall him with twenty four hours notice after one month of his time at Carrow Road has elapsed”.

Perhaps Gibbs' debut can be looked at from another angle. Had he not been selected on Tuesday, blooding him against up-em and at-em long ball Leicester on the Crisp Bowl quagmire may not have been considered, and that would only have left the home game against Barnsley as the last fixture he could have played in before Arsenal had the option to recall him. And it wouldn't have done next seasons loan chances a great deal of good if one of Arsenal's young starlets had been recalled after only having played one game in a month would it?

I'll finish as I started, by recalling the song I was humming to myself on the way back home on Thursday evening, which by some strange coincidence had the same title as our left midfielder who played against Hull.

“Alone Again Naturally”

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