Liam Gibbs will reap the long term benefits from second season syndrome at Norwich City.

The 21-year-old midfielder notched his first league goal in a previous Championship away win at Blackburn Rovers, in a breakthrough campaign that saw him lift the club’s young-player-of-the-season and sign a longer term Carrow Road deal.

But the former Ipswich academy prospect has only had 10 more league starts since April 2023, ahead of this weekend’s Ewood Park return.

City head coach David Wagner insists Gibbs will be stronger for a challenging second season.

“When he looks back on his career, and he will have a top career, in 15 years, he’ll know that this period helped him to get to the player where he will be,” said Wagner. “We have, and we had conversations, honest conversations about it as well.

"He had his dip, in training, and maybe the one or other performance when he was able to start was not on the level where he wanted to have it, and maybe for me as well.

"But in recent weeks at training, and to be fair, if you see what he's done when he came on (against Watford), the shift which he put in, his link up play was smart to consider a yellow for the team in the right moment of that game.

"He is making steps in the right direction. But, yes, it's now a more difficult period for him this season.”

Wagner prefered his south American duo, Gabby Sara and Marcelino Nunez, in central midfield for the 4-1 league win over Cardiff City, capped by the Brazilian’s stunning free kick.

“A wonderful goal, a first free kick goal in a central area,” said Wagner. “When I see him and Nacho always in training I think, ‘How can this happen that we haven't seen more central free kick goals so far in the season?’

"He has done his job and Nacho as well. He played in this position quite often in the past, especially in the time when Kenny (McLean) played centre back or Gabby played higher up the pitch. He always played in this central midfield role. He is a real competitor and it was a top performance.

“I'm very pleased for Gabby that he has got his goals (against Cardiff and Watford), but apart from the goals his link up play was fantastic in these games; how he worked defensively was very good as well.”