Rowe is on the right track for Smith

Jonathan Rowe was thrust into a Premier League debut for Norwich City at Crystal Palace

Jonathan Rowe was thrust into a Premier League debut for Norwich City at Crystal Palace - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dean Smith is tipping Jonathan Rowe to be a future star for Norwich City – but owes him an apology.  

The teenage attacker made his Premier League debut in the 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, after headline-grabbing displays in his first season at under-23s level.  

Rowe is the latest prospect off the City academy production line, but Smith admits the on-going impact of Covid and a chronic injury list has seen him fast track the youngster into his plans.  

“He has got a bit about him,” said the Norwich boss. “He has done well at 23s level and he has been in and around the first team group of late training and also done really well. We have been pleased with his development. But I am not sure he is Premier League ready at the minute for a relegation battle.   

“His debut was probably the most pleasing thing about the game, and getting some minutes. Would I have wanted to put him on at 3-0 down, away to Crystal Palace, for his Premier League debut? No, is the answer. But I feel this lad is going to have a really good future at this football club.

"It was not right to put him on in that situation and now, of course, he counts as one of the 13 fit players, in terms of the Premier League advice when it comes to trying to play games during this period.”    

The Premier League did grant City’s request to postpone Saturday’s scheduled trip to Leicester, after fresh Covid and injury issues either side of a fifth straight defeat at Selhurst Park. Norwich’s losing run has coincided with the loss of an experienced core.  

Most Read

“I go back to the first half of my first game against Southampton and make no mistake we got battered in that first 45 minutes, but because we had senior players and senior people at this level they kept us in the game,” said Smith. “By keeping us in the game it helped us to turn it around in the second half to get the win.  

"We have some big players for this football club who are missing. We have our captain out, Grant Hanley, we had Teemu Pukki out, we had Mathias Normann out, we had Max Aarons out, who had pretty much played every single game before Palace. It is a real lengthy injury list.   

“At the moment we probably haven’t got that experience in the ranks. Jonny Rowe gets his first team debut off the bench, and he replaces another youngster in Christos Tzolis. I believe both of them have a big future, but they are still learning the game at this tough level in the Premier League.”