PROFILE: Winning the U20 World Cup, idolising Arteta and an eye for goal - Dowell’s eventful journey continues with City
- Credit: PA
Winning the Under-20 World Cup, making his Everton debut at 17 and four Championship loan spells - it’s fair to say Norwich City new boy Kieran Dowell has enjoyed an eventful start to his career.
Still aged just 22, the goal-scoring midfielder has made the bold step of leaving his boyhood club permanently as he enters the final 12 months of his contract.
Dowell made his Toffees debut at just 17 years old, starting a Europa League game against Russian side Krasnodar in December 2014, a dead rubber which ended in a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park with Everton having already won their group.
After continuing to impress and score regularly at youth levels his Premier League debut followed at the end of 2015-16, featuring briefly in a 2-1 home win over Bournemouth and then starting on the final day, against Norwich. Dowell played 69 minutes that day, starting on the right wing, as the already relegated Canaries were beaten 3-0.
He finally forced his way through to first team football properly in 2017 though, after an integral role for Everton’s under-23s as they were coached to the Premier League Two title by Toffees legend David Unsworth, registering five goals and seven assists in 22 games.
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As he progressed through the ranks, Dowell picked out current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta as his idol growing up, with the classy midfielder having enjoyed a successful spell at Everton during his playing days.
“He was someone I always looked up to as a kid,” Dowell told EvertonFC.com. “He was so graceful on the ball and he made everything look easy. He was great to watch and he is someone who I looked at and tried to implement areas of his game into my own.”
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That PL2 title success made sure of Dowell’s place in the England squad for the U20 World Cup in South Korea that summer - which proved to be a high-profile triumph.
Playing alongside players who have gone on to play regularly in the Premier League, including Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook and Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori, he featured in all seven games of the tournament.
Two assists during a 3-0 win over Argentina and turning in the winner against hosts South Korea in the group stages was followed by starting all four knockout games, as Costa Rica, Mexico, Italy and Venezula were beaten, mostly playing on the right.
Dowell had lift-off and a loan move to Nottingham Forest followed, scoring 10 goals and assisting five during 43 games, as Aitor Karanka’s side could only manage a mid-table finish - starting both the 1-0 home win over Norwich and the 0-0 draw at Carrow Road.
Marco Silva had taken over at his parent club at the start of 2018-19 but after just two League Cup appearances and being an unused substitute on three occasions in the Premier League, it was back out on loan, this time joining Sheffield United’s promotion charge in January.
His first league start came at Carrow Road, playing the opening hour as the Blades held City to a 2-2 draw, but he struggled to hold down a starting place as Chris Wilder’s team battled their way to second place. While two goals in 17 games was a decent return at a good standard, eight of those appearances had been as a substitute.
It wasn’t enough to force his way in at Everton and next up was starting last season at Derby, where Phillip Cocu had succeeded Frank Lampard, but as the Rams were trying to shake off their play-off hangover just 10 appearances made for a frustrating stint.
Which took him to Wigan and a battle against relegation from January, initially starting three games as a winger, before an ankle injury ruled him out until the season was suspended in March. Progress appeared to be slowing.
Yet after the restart in June a fit-again Dowell helped himself to five goals in nine games as a central attacking midfielder, earning him a nomination for the Championship Player of the Month award for July. That arrived after a good run of form from the Latics that wasn’t enough to avoid relegation, thanks to a points deduction due to the club going into administration.
That included a hat-trick during an 8-0 demolition of Hull, after which Wigan boss Paul Cook told his club’s website: “He’s got end product, it’s magic that, all managers search for that in flair players, the ability to score goals and create chances.”
Which appears to have convinced Norwich to splash some cash on a talented midfielder with a cultured left foot, whose not afraid to have a shot from distance.
With 16 caps and two goals for the England U21s on his CV as well, Dowell could now find himself at the heart of Daniel Farke’s attempt to take the Championship by storm again.