Norwich City report card: Patience was a virtue and reward for super Tommy Trybull
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Next up in our report card series from the 2018-19 EFL Championship , MICHAEL BAILEY takes a look at Tom Trybull – the man who had to wait patiently before proving a top Norwich City asset, while still making sure he never gave the ball away.
Everything with Tom Trybull and his Norwich City journey references back to his Carabao Cup debut in 2017.
Such past pedigree accompanied him, with the juxtaposition of the German midfielder having to take on a trial to prove he'd be worth a punt for a midtable second-tier club in England.
His late Carrow Road cameo against Charlton saw him score, barely give the ball away and make everyone - including me - wonder what sort of player City had on their hands.
It meant heading into the 2018-19 campaign, new contract sorted months ago and injuries dealt with, Trybull had the chance to realise his Canaries potential.
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Instead, the now 26-year-old found himself in the midst of an exercise in patience.
Trybull started just five of City's first 27 Championship games. Six of his substitute appearances totalled just 10 minutes. Four times he didn't even make the 18 due to Norwich's continuing tightrope walk with the EFL's homegrown rules.
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I remember speaking with Tom during the season. He was wearing what became his trademark: a black beanie hat with carrots on it. No, me neither.
As always he was calm, articulate and admitted he was unaware when he joined City that the EFL's rules might curtail his involvement - as well as that of some of his team-mates.
However, his measured tones and determination spoke loudest; qualities that took him so far by the time the campaign was winding up.
Trybull's biggest chance before Christmas came at Hull. A wretched, saturated November away night on Humberside, where a freshly-injured and in-form Moritz Leitner had to watch on as City tried to make it seven wins on the spin.
It was a goalless draw. Norwich couldn't manage the slick possession efficiency of their recent weeks, had to dig in and for some, that wasn't quite good enough. Trybull was the change - and for the same some, the fall guy.
To an extent, Daniel Farke agreed; Mario Vrancic got Trybull's gig at home to Rotherham four days later, and City duly won.
But in reality, the criticism Trybull received after that game was out of proportion. City's altered dynamic without Leitner was seen as a poor personal performance - when in reality, Trybull did well off limited recent action and came closer than anyone to actually scoring. Twice.
It's fair to assume some of that frustration stuck with the German all the way through to his next Championship start: January 18 and play-off seeking Birmingham's visit to Carrow Road.
That night, he was excellent. He looked the holding midfielder City needed for the rest of the campaign: mobile, energetic, defensively savvy and even a little goal threat. His superb header on 25 minutes killed the game as effectively as the rest of his performance.
Trybull started every game for the rest of the season, until he rolled his ankle at Stoke and as a result, missed the final two games of the campaign: the Carrow Road promotion-clinching win over Blackburn, and City's title equivalent at Villa Park.
There is no question he deserved to be fully involved - but like all of Farke's squad this season, there had to be a degree of acceptance over taking whatever minutes they could get, and using them as best they could.
Arguably there was little that was spectacular about Trybull's season and lengthy spell in the side - but there didn't need to be. So many others around him provided the sparks.
That was perhaps the most impressive part: that Trybull found such a good rhythm, protected his defence and slotted into the deep quarter-back role so well.
His presence and security on the ball allowed full-backs Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis to do what they needed to higher up the pitch; allowed Emi Buendia and Marco Stiepermann to come deeper into the pockets of space between the lines.
Maturity in dealing impeccably with a season of real ebbs and flows; adapting his undoubted quality and pedigree into an efficient and effective, first-choice holding midfielder for Farke's Championship title-winners - this is where Tom Trybull should take immense credit.
Patience was a virtue and the reward was the medal round his neck - and his crucial part in making it happen.
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