James Husband in pole position but Harry Toffolo knew he was facing battle for his Norwich City chance
- Credit: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Limited
The left-back position had been one of strength for a long while for Norwich City but a battle for the vacant berth is set to heat up in the coming weeks.
Academy product Harry Toffolo had been the only recognised senior left-back on the books until the Canaries signed James Husband from Middlesbrough for around £1million yesterday.
The 23-year-old former Fulham and Huddersfield loanee has been left in the shadow of George Friend at Boro but will be looking to establish himself as a Championship regular.
City have handed Husband a three-year deal and sporting director Stuart Webber already knows of the former Doncaster Rovers trainee’s potential having signed him for Huddersfield.
It means Toffolo faces stiff competition to finally establish himself as a Norwich regular, although he will have expected no less when the one-year option in his contract was triggered at the end of last season. The 21-year-old was part of City’s FA Youth Cup winning team of 2013 and has since spent time on loan in League One with Swindon, Peterborough and Scunthorpe, as well as a seven-game Championship stint at Rotherham in 2015-16.
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In the meantime the left-back shirt was worn by Robbie Brady and Martin Olsson at Norwich until they were sold for big money in January, forcing Russell Martin and Steven Whittaker to cover.
Olsson had previously vied with Javier Garrido in the top flight, as they inherited the position from Marc Tierney, who had finally edged out club legend Adam Drury after 10 years, who was only really disrupted by Ryan Bertrand – now an England international and Champions League winner.
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Mitchell Dijks was eventually signed on loan from Ajax and proved largely popular for his buccaneering performances but the fee of around £3m and wages of £30,000 a week made put a permanent deal out of reach.
That left Toffolo and 19-year-old Jamal Lewis, a Northern Ireland U21 international who has often featured as a winger for City’s youth teams, to contest left-back in the early games of pre-season.
Both had looked bright in comfortable wins at Cobh and Lowestoft but neither were really tested defensively, so Husband looks likely to move straight into pole position.