City report card: Why Adam Idah can become the perfect City frontman
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Adam Idah could be presented with his big Norwich City chance in the Championship, he just has to take it. Connor Southwell puts the young striker under the microscope for the latest part of our report card series.
Adam Idah is a man on a mission at Norwich City.
Since he burst on to the scene with an extraordinary FA Cup hat-trick against Preston North End in January, City supporters have been hoping that he can lead the next phase of the Canaries progression.
Off the pitch, Idah come across as a shy teenager, there seems to be a rare modesty in every interview he involves himself in.
On it, there’s the ruthless finisher keen to make his mark. Speak to anyone around Carrow Road or Colney and they’ll rave about the potential Idah possesses.
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The 19-year-old has had a progressive year of development. Despite some concerns that he had been trapped in a half-way house between needing a loan to further his career and a regular first-team berth, Idah has proven he’s ready for the responsibilty that being a leading Canaries striker requires.
Like all great frontman, there’s a likability and stage presence about Idah that makes him enjoyable to consume. Despite that shyness off the pitch, the young Irishman has the self-confidence to make an impact on the first-team stage.
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Forget comparisons to Zlatan Ibrahimovic that were made during his youth football days, Idah is his own man, and if City can extract that potential and convert it into ability - then they’ll possess an excellent, contemporary centre-forward.
His physicality has given him an advantage over others of a similar age, his power allows him to swagger across the pitch with the consciousness that he has the strength and pace to either win the ball or latch onto it.
Idah is fortunate enough to possess a innate capability - the power to instinctively and ruthlessly score goals, as his former coach Kevin Ronayne explained in January.
“He’s always chipped in with goals but his all-round game and link-up play, his ability, is brilliant. One season at Corinthians we were looking at how we could take it to the next level, so he would go out to the left wing and wait, cut in from the left, and with his speed and strength teams just didn’t know how to play him.
“We’ve been aware of his talent for a long time, so it’s not really a surprise to us, we’ve been waiting for it to happen,” a clearly proud Ronayne continued, who coached Idah during his school days.
“His attitude has never been anything less than outstanding, he treats everyone the same and with maximum respect, by playing at his highest level whoever he’s playing against.”
Whilst the focus will be, rightly, on the talent that Idah does have, there are still many elements of his game that require refinement.
Daniel Farke elected not to throw him into the deep end following football’s return, despite loud cries from the supporters, who were desperate to cast Idah in a leading role to provide some escapism and positivity after an enduring season.
But his performances against Crawley Town in the EFL Cup and City’s defeat to Manchester United reaffirmed to City’s boss that he was right to keep Idah waiting for a regular start.
“Adam is a great guy,” he said. “At this age he is already there in the matchday squad and getting minutes. I don’t see any other club where he would have got this at the Premier League level.
“He is still a work in progress and he has to improve in many parts of the game, in his endurance and his ability to link the play. But he improves day by day and I am never scared to play young players.
“I can still remember after Adam scored at Preston I was hearing he will help us stay in this league.
“Then he starts at Manchester United in the next game and we lose 4-0 and he was seen as too lightweight and maybe in a few years he will be ready. I won’t go over the moon or be too critical.
“Let’s take some responsibility off the young lads if we can.
“They have to carry us with their performances but they should not be responsible for carrying the spirit of the team as well, not in the greatest league in the world.”
The Championship poses an opportunity for Idah to grasp his chance.
With a hectic schedule and plenty of fixtures, Idah could become a pivotal member of City’s squad.
Managing his development and not allowing him to plateau will be intrinsic, but Farke isn’t one to hinder youth development.
He will need time, but his cameos from the bench proved he was ready to prove his worth for the Canaries.
He has the potential to be the Canaries’ next rock and roll star, but he has some work to do on the training pitches at Colney first.