Tough love for Sorensen from Farke
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited
Daniel Farke appointed himself as the chair of the Jacob Sorensen fan club. Then appeared to proceed to block his path to the Norwich City first team.
The Dane was reprieved for the promotion shoot-out at Swansea to resume his duties at left-back in a pre-planned move after Greek international Dimitris Giannoulis was given his first taste of Championship combat.
But Farke confirmed on the eve of Stoke’s visit it will be Giannoulis and on-loan Villarreal rival Xavi Quintilla fighting it out from here, with Sorensen taking his chances in a congested scrap for central midfield spots.
Olly Skipp, Kenny McLean and Lukas Rupp would appear to be ahead of the 22-year-old in his more favoured position, but that is no reflection on Farke’s faith.
“I love this player. He is so smart and intelligent and he has a bright future for us,” said the City boss. “He had to adapt to the left back role but from now on he concentrates on the midfield role. I have had an open, honest conversation with him.
"Perhaps it is unfair after what he has done at left back to be on the bench but we are not after the fair play prize this season.
“Jacob will return to his central midfield position. We have two experienced left backs who have to deliver in this position. I was quite pleased how Jacob handled this situation. There was criticism in his first three or four games, and I had to take some stick as well.
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"He was solid and reliable but in that position there will always be a limit because we want a left footed, quick player who can run up and down the flank and deliver some crosses. Jacob, with all respect, he has many qualities but this is not him.
“Xavi played 25 games for Villarreal on La Liga level and we now have a proven Greek international who had two clean sheets in his first two games. In an emergency, whether it is injuries or they are not delivering, then we can go back to Jacob.
"But I trust the other lads to deliver and Jacob is in the mix for central midfield, and must handle the competition there. That is where we see him in the mid to long term. Difficult decisions for me. But that is what I want.”
Farke had the relative luxury of a full week to prepare for the Potters and no fresh injury or coronavirus-related concerns. Jordan Hugill (hamstring) and Marco Stiepermann (Epstein-Barr virus) are on course to return to team training next week, while January keeper signing Orjan Nyland is stepping up his recovery from back surgery before Christmas.
“He is doing some stuff outside on the pitch and working with Ed Wootten but there is no need to rush him because Tim (Krul) is available and Daniel Barden has proved he can play on this level,” said Farke. “It won’t be the first day he is ready he comes straight into the match day squad.
"I am quite confident Jordan and Marco return to training next week. We check Marco’s blood almost on a daily basis and he is much improved, nearly back to his former level and he is able to handle the training load. He has had some sessions with the Under 23s.
"Jordan’s hamstring the same. Probably not available for the next two games but let’s see how we develop from here.
"The beginning of this week we had a few muscle problems and rested some players. Grant Hanley, Ben Gibson sat out the start of training but they are all back and available."
Stoke pushed Norwich all the way in a 3-2 away win for the Canaries, who had Emi Buendia sent off in the second half, but arrive in Norfolk looking for a first league win in eight.
“The situation with Stoke is a role model for how difficult and how competitive this league is," said Farke. "They have found it hard to win in recent games but they are probably the most experienced side on this level.
"I think they made some ambitious signings in January with a view to pushing for that top six. They have the potential to do this. They haven’t won for several games but they have not really moved much in the table. It says how crazy, how tight and how competitive it is.
"Another sign we should value the position we are in.”