Talk of a loan away continues to surround Idah after Spurs display

Adam Idah of Norwich and Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the Premier League match at

Adam Idah was handed a rare Premier League start for Norwich City against Tottenham Hotspur. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Adam Idah arrived in north London with reports of a loan move away from Norwich City in January circulating. 

The Irish international was handed the nod by Canaries head coach Dean Smith as he replaced Josh Sargent to support a change in formation against Tottenham Hotspur. 

Idah was named alongside Teemu Pukki as Smith shuffled his pack and opted to deploy a 3-5-2 formation designed to protect City against Spurs' potent attacking trio of Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son but also to cause Antonio Conte's men problems at the top end of the pitch. 

Life at City during the last two and a half seasons has been tough for the 20-year-old from Cork. 

After bursting onto the scene with an impressive hat-trick in the third round of the FA Cup, Idah was welcomed into City's first-team to add some much-needed firepower beyond Pukki. 

A start at Manchester United illustrated just how raw he was compared to his more experienced striking colleagues. 

But Pukki's potency has seen chances at first-team level hard to come by for Idah. There was a feeling before the season from inside the corridors of power that the young striker could 'explode' in the top-flight. 

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The reality has been more underwhelming. 

In many ways, he is stuck in a halfway house in the City first-team. Not quite good enough to dislodge Pukki but deemed too capable to be sent out on loan. 

Now, aged 20, Idah's developmental years are accelerating away. If this top prospect is to realise his potential, then major strides need to be taken soon. 

Smith is yet to appraise the Irish international properly and a decision on January is yet to be made. Idah had an opportunity to put all discussion around a loan away from the club to bed on Sunday, but failed to produce the performance many were hoping for. 

This start was justified given Josh Sargent's struggles in the Premier League to date and Idah's bright cameo against Newcastle on Tuesday. 

His work in open play was effective and he was a nuisance against a porous Magpies backline without ever threatening goal. 

Underpinning everything Idah does currently is that rawness. He simply doesn't have the same nous to locate positions in the area that put him in places to score goals. 

In the Premier League, chances are few and far between. Crucially, when the big one arrived at Idah's feet that would have put City on level terms he snatched at it and was unable to convert. 

Maybe it did fall to him when he wasn't expecting it. Maybe the spin on the ball was tough to control. But Premier League strikers would expect to be putting that away. 

Beyond that miss, there were nice moments in his general play. 

His hold up play in the first half saw him tussle with Eric Dier before offloading possession to Billy Gilmour, helping his colleagues advance up the pitch in the process. 

The Norwich players rue a missed chance during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

The Norwich players rue a missed chance during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 05/12/2021 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

There was an intelligent run to peel away from Dier that nearly saw him picked out by Gilmour's lofted pass but Hugo Lloris' starting position was good and the French keeper swept up the danger. 

In the second period, Idah was caught offside twice. Norwich failed to really find him in during their phases of possession, on a few occasions his touch let him down. The Irishman had the fewest amount of touches of any City starter - including Tim Krul. 

You only need to watch Idah to see the potential that is there. But he turns 21 in February. He needs minutes. Cameos from the bench simply aren't enough for him to prove his quality.

If all parties aren't careful, Idah could fail to convert his potential into ability. That would be a great shame for everyone involved given the upward trajectory he has embarked upon since he joined the Canaries in 2017. 

This period of his career could turn out to be more detrimental to his overall development. Two years on from that tough education at Old Trafford, there is still a rawness to Idah's all-round game. 

When survival in the Premier League is the most important task at the forefront of everyone's minds, it could be easy to keep Idah in reserve in case Pukki breaks down or loses form. 

The Norwich players look dejected after conceding their side’s 2nd goal during the Premier League ma

The Norwich players look dejected after conceding their side’s 2nd goal during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 05/12/2021 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

But given this is a club that needs to develop young talent for cultural and financial reasons, Idah is a player that has all the tools to come good.

On the evidence of this display, he isn't somebody capable of dislodging Pukki between now and May.

A loan move in January may be the best solution for all parties, especially if City are looking at Championship football again next season. 

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