'Stylish' Gibbs gets Smith's vote

Liam Gibbs capped his full Norwich City debut with a nerveless penalty in the League Cup shoot out against Birmingham City

Liam Gibbs capped his full Norwich City debut with a nerveless penalty in the League Cup shoot out against Birmingham City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Former Ipswich Town youth star Liam Gibbs is a ‘stylish’ addition to Dean Smith’s Championship promotion battle plan at Norwich City. 

Gibbs capped his full debut for the Canaries with a cool penalty in the midweek League Cup shoot-out success against Birmingham City. 

The 19-year-old faces an intense battle to feature in a midfield bolstered this summer by the signings of Marcelino Nunez, Gabriel Sara and Isaac Hayden. 

But Smith needs no convincing of the composed teenager’s quality. 

“Liam I have always liked. I think he is a really stylish footballer who covers the ground really quickly as well,” said the City chief. “He can hold the ball, because he has the passing range with either foot he can switch the play, but he has the legs to get in the opposition box. I thought he was really good (against Birmingham). 

“We still have some to come back from injury, but I would rather have good players sat in the stand than not enough at the football club. There are a lot of games in this league, and there is a really good competitive edge in that dressing room because everybody is pushing for places.

"Maybe last season the team and the subs picked themselves. Now we have a lot more variety.” 

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Smith highlighted the impact of fellow midfielders Danel Sinani and Kieran Dowell against the Blues, with Sara showing glimpses of attacking threat on his delayed debut following a summer switch from Sao Paulo. 

“Not only his first start, but first start in three months due to injury. He had 10 days with us training and he is looking to get fitter and those 60 minutes were good for him,” said Smith. “He made some good runs at times, and you can see what he is going to bring to us. He is not fully up to speed just yet but he is certainly getting there.

"I thought Kieran Dowell played well, as someone coming off the back of an operation on his hernia this summer.  

"Danel is capable of finding pockets of space really well. He can handle the ball when it comes into him and he has great delivery from set pieces. He scored one, made one and scored a penalty as well.

"He has got the technique we want and he is hungry. He has a desire to go and prove himself at this football club. In that he has got our backing.”