On a wing and a prayer
Getting full value out of Norwich City's wingers could be the key to climbing the Championship table - even if it means playing one on each flank.That's the view of one of the most successful wide players in the Canaries' recent history.
Getting full value out of Norwich City's wingers could be the key to climbing the Championship table - even if it means playing one on each flank.
That's the view of one of the most successful wide players in the Canaries' recent history.
Darren Eadie, one of the special guests at a book launch in Norwich last night, believes a steady supply of quality crosses can improve City's goal tally if they can get the best out of players such as Lee Croft, David Bell and Wes Hoolahan.
And the 33-year-old former player of the season would love to see a return to the bold policy of two wingers employed for much of his Carrow Road career, when he was in the same line-up as men such as Ruel Fox, Neil Adams and Keith O'Neill.
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He said: “It's definitely the way I'd like to see the game played. Exciting wingers are good to watch but unfortunately there aren't enough of them about, especially in the Championship.
“I'm no manager so you could say what kind of judge am I? But most goals are scored from crosses. I played with Neil Adams, I played with Ruel Fox - there were usually two good wingers in the team.
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“If you look at the success of someone like Manchester United they have used Ronaldo and Giggs and they do play with wingers. Liverpool are actively trying to play with more outright wingers.”
Eadie, attending the Waterstone's bookshop launch of Norwich writer Paul Willetts' “Teenage Flicks” in which he features - dedicated to players' and celebrities' memories of Subbuteo table soccer - said City started the season with plenty of wide options.
He said: “Croft has done well when he's played this season and probably deserves a longer shot in the team. He seems to have got himself fit.
“I was surprised they let Luke Chadwick go to MK Dons. I thought he would have had a few games as he's proven at this level.
“I've seen Wes play quite a few times, but I think he's more comfortable in a central midfield role.
“Unfortunately I went to the QPR game at home, which was probably the worst performance of all.
“Croft was on the bench and it was more like four central midfielders playing, which made it very narrow.”
Eadie, a Bristol Rovers fan as a youngster, believes the Canaries will have their work cut out on Saturday when they visit Rovers' big rivals.
He said: “Bristol Rovers is my local team. They used to play at Twerton Park, and I used to live four or five miles from Bath.
“I am a Rovers fan but I do think Bristol as a city could really do with a club in the Premier League. I think it would be good for the city and I think most Rovers fans would admit that as well.”
As such, he has sneaking admiration for the Robins.
“The manager said they haven't had that surprise element this year but I think you can only have that for the first five or six games. I think then you get found out. They've done well again,” said Eadie.
“There are no massive stars, they're just a good hard-working team and they play lovely football. They don't lose many games. In the games where they've gone behind, they've come back and got draws, so that's the sign of a decent team.”
As for Norwich, he expects a tough campaign.
“The thing that sticks in my mind is we've not got ourselves ahead in many games,” he said.
“We haven't picked up points when we've played well, which is disappointing. If you don't do it when you're playing well, there's less chance of doing it when you're not.
“Birmingham was a particularly good performance but again we only came away with a point, which was disappointing.”