Farke hopes 'outstanding' City midfielder can shake off injury issues
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Lukas Rupp’s season could already be over but Daniel Farke believes the midfielder has proved his ‘class’ for Norwich City, as he aims to at least have the midfielder fully fit for pre-season.
The 30-year-old has missed the last three matches of City’s promotion push and will miss tomorrow’s game at Derby after a fresh hamstring issue which will require further assessment by a specialist.
Rupp, who played for clubs including Hoffenheim and Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany, had three assists to his name from 25 appearances having also missed much of December and January with hamstring trouble.
“When he is in his rhythm and fully fit, he is an outstanding player," the Canaries head coach said. "With Lukas’s experience, he has proved this with top clubs on Bundesliga level, not just clubs fighting against relegation, really top clubs.
“If he is in a good shape then he can be there with his energy, his resilience, his greed in the duels but also with being tidy with the ball he can be so influential for us.
“He had many, many top-class performances at the start of the season, he kept top players like Kenny McLean, for example, out of the team because of some great performances.
“He also fulfilled a bit more of the offensive role in several games also quite well and he is an important part of our group.
“For that, it is a shame that he is not available right now and also that he was a bit interrupted in the appearances when he was available, in many games he has shown his class and how influential he can be.
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“Hopefully he can show this again soon. It would be nice to have him available for one or two games of this season and if not then at least a proper pre-season and he will also show his class during next season.”
Rupp had set up both goals during the 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest prior to his injury, teeing up early goals from Teemu Pukki and Kieran Dowell.
The German has generally been vying with Scotland international Kenny McLean for the central midfield role alongside Oliver Skipp this season, with McLean nominated but missing out on the Championship Player of the Month award for March.
Farke was also shortlisted for the managerial award but was overlooked for the sixth consecutive month, in favour of Xisco Munoz, after Watford took two more points than Norwich from five games last month.
The City boss has stressed previously that he is not worried about awards as long as his team are doing well but was pleased to see McLean get some recognition.
“It’s quite normal that all the offensive players are in the spotlight when they are there with hat-tricks, assists or some magical touches – and not so much the holding midfielders," Farke said.
“Kenny plays really a key role with his energy, he is a box-to-box player, he wins many duels, he is important also for us with his strength in the air when defending set-pieces but also attacking set-pieces and to drive the game forward.
“He is also there with goals and assists, he’s a pretty all-round player. I’m still working with him day in and day out to improve him more but I think he is playing a fantastic season so far.
“Especially the last couple of months were unbelievable and he deserves to be in the spotlight – and would also have deserved to win this award.”