Connor Southwell: Have City finally found someone capable of filling Tettey’s boots?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke has had his fair share of selection headaches created by the injury crisis that left City’s squad depleted earlier this season.
After the quality contained within Ibrahim Amadou's performance against Arsenal on Sunday, the Canaries chief has been given a different kind of dilemma with Alex Tettey set to return to the fold after missing the game due to family reasons.
Suddenly, City have options within that pivotal defensive midfield slot after both men were forced to play at centre-back as City attempted to find a short-term solution to shore up their expended backline.
So that begs the question, if both are fit, who will Farke select? How do they both contribute to the Canaries cause by offering variants of the same job?
Tettey has held that defensive midfield position with quality and consistency over a prolonged period at Carrow Road but in Amadou, City have a viable alternative to their veteran Norwegian midfielder who struggles with a hefty volume of games.
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The Frenchman can make his move to Norfolk permanent next summer should his spell in NR1 be successful.
Amadou has pedigree, namely operating as captain under Marcelo Bielsa during his time in Lille. Amadou possesses a level of technical proficiency that can aid the implementation of Farke's possession-based philosophy.
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His last minute block displayed his positional intelligence and commitment to the cause. In terms of discipline, he was robust and added some guile into a City midfield that has exposed a soft underbelly regularly this season.
Defensively, Amadou completed more tackles than anybody else donning yellow and green but also boasted the highest pass success percentage on the pitch. Context adds that the majority of those passes were over a shorter,distance however.
That intellect is integral to how he reads the game, occupying positions that help City defend more intelligently in transition as well as within a defensive block.
In turn, that allowed City to construct a solid screen that prevented Mesut Ozil gaining possession in central areas.
Physicality was an additional component he brought to the midfield with his stature. The manner in which he pressed opponents with pace and purpose was exhilarating to consume. Amadou was a unit who imposed himself on the game successfully after a shaky start.
Yet, sometimes his ball progression wasn't great and he seemed sluggish in possession at times.
Those aforementioned qualities are truthful of Tettey equally. The Norwegian has seen it all at City, promotions, relegations and everything in between.
Every single person to have occupied the Carrow Road dug-out has gone through the process of attempting to play without Tettey before eventually discovering a place for him in the City starting XI.
None more so than Farke, who saw no place for a combative midfielder in his side. As results worsened and the robust nature of the Championship became evident, so did the need for a defensively minded midfield who was capable of arm wrestling.
Under Farke, Tettey has displayed some of his best football in a Canaries shirt, with the German seemingly capable of extracting his strengths.
Tettey's game isn't one reliant on pace or physicality, he isn't a battering ram capable of progressing the ball up the pitch, instead, his effectiveness comes when he isn't in possession of the football.
Comparisons before have seen Tettey compared to a drummer within a band, he may never receive the headlines of a lead singer but without them they lose creativity and structure.
Both of these operators don't possess the panache of a Todd Cantwell or the grace of a Teemu Pukki, but their role is integral in the side. Particularly one looking to keep its head above water.
Could they play alongside each other? Potentially, particularly in games whereby City are underdogs or the opponent possesses a level of quality that would need to see City's shape become impregnable.
Whether a partnership would come at the detriment of the attacking fluidity of the side is another subject matter completely.
With Kenny McLean adding a dynamism that has seen a more balanced approach, it appears Farke will deploy one of either Amadou or Tettey.
Both are apt selections and, to an extent, it's a case of horses for courses.
Given Tettey finds himself out of contract this summer and is 34 in April, City may be looking at a long-term view in finding his successor. Amadou could be that man.