Iwan Roberts: Awards were great for Norwich, but Wilder over Farke?
- Credit: Archant
What a night it was for the club at the EFL Football awards with some of the lads doing rather well on the night.
Huge congratulations to Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons and Teemu Pukki on their very well-deserved inclusion in the Championship team of the season.
The night didn’t end there for Max and Teemu – Max was voted the EFL young player of the year, and rightly so – he’s been absolutely magnificent since he got into the side at the end of August in a League Cup match at the Cardiff City Stadium.
I was at the game and left thinking that this young man was going to be a top player, even though he played left back on the night. I had no idea he was a right back until I spoke to Darren Huckerby a few days later – he even made playing left back look easy.
Pukki was voted EFL Championship player of the year, and boy doesn’t he deserve it?
He’s had a career-best season and his numbers are ridiculous, with 26 goals in 38 games. His goals won him the award, but we all know his overall performances this season have been top class. His work ethic is second to none and he’s assisted in a fair few goals too.
The only surprise for me on the night was Chris Wilder winning the manager of the year award – surely it had to be Daniel Farke.
He has led his team from 14th last season to being top of the table with five games to go and he will see his team crowned champions well before May 5.
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Mind you, after Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw with lowly Reading you’d think the club had blown their chances of automatic promotion by some of the comments I’ve heard and read and it’s left me stunned, to be quite honest.
How anyone can criticise this team after the season they have had beggars belief – and they are still six points in front of second-placed Leeds and seven in front of third-placed Sheffield United with just 15 points to play for. Don’t be pressing the panic button just yet!
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Queens Park Rangers looked beaten before they kicked a ball on Saturday lunchtime at Carrow Road. It’s not often you see a team with fear in their eyes as they walk out of the tunnel, but the Rangers players looked scared stiff as they took to the pitch – and were they right to do so as once again Norwich were relentless.
The game was done and dusted within 12 minutes as the Canaries scored two early goals. It was plain for everyone to see that Norwich were on a different planet and it was simply a matter of how many they were going to score. In the end they settled for four.
I think the closest I’ve come to being scared walking out to play a game was when Wales played Brazil at the Millennium Stadium in May 2000, even though it was only a friendly the place was packed to the rafters – everyone wanted to see Ronaldo and Co.
It was the first time the stadium’s roof was to be closed for a football game, something I would experience again two years on as we played Birmingham in the play-off final.
Brazil were a great side with some proper superstars like Cafu, Denilson and the two Rs, Rivaldo and the great Ronaldo, and went on to win the World Cup two years down the line.
They were that good they didn’t even bother coming out to warm-up before the game – they did their warm-up in their changing room!
In the first half we held our own, but you could tell the Brazilians were stuck in second gear and we were delighted to be going in at 0-0. But we knew that in a blink of an eye they could turn it on just like that.
The second half wasn’t much different to be honest, but in a spell of just 10 minutes they went up a couple of gears and scored three goals and it was game over.