Iwan Roberts: Hugill showed he truly belongs at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
It’s been a faultless start to the second half of the season for Norwich City.
Two wins out of two in the league, one goal conceded, and all by doing things that look very, very easy against the out of sorts Cardiff City and an in-form Bristol City who had won three of their previous four games until they visited Carrow Road on Wednesday night.
At the Cardiff City Stadium last Saturday as soon as Todd Cantwell pounced to double the Canaries’ lead on 22 minutes the game was over with. I’ve seen enough of Cardiff this season to realise there was no way back for the Bluebirds. Yes, Cardiff gave it a go in the second half, but let's be honest Norwich didn’t get out of first gear, let alone second. They really were in cruise control.
It was pretty much deja vu on Wednesday night at Carrow Road against Bristol City. Norwich were simply too good and had far too much class for Dean Holden’s men. Bristol City, like Cardiff, simply had no answer to Norwich’s slick passing style and as soon as Jordan Hugill scored that fantastic header, one that I would have been proud of, the outcome was inevitable.
I thought Jordan got away with one for his first goal. I think he fouled Jack Hunt as the first cross was put in but it wasn’t given and he was the first to react a few seconds later when Todd crossed another ball into the Bristol penalty box and he was there to head it home. It was an okay cross from Todd but in my opinion Hugill still had a lot to do to get the power and the direction into his header and boy didn’t he do both well.
He didn’t know too much about his second as the ball rebounded to him off a Bristol City defender’s attempted clearance and Jordan was there from a yard out to stomach the ball over the line. I’m sure it's not the prettiest goal he’s ever scored but if he’s anything like me he won't care as it’s another one to add to his tally.
I honestly didn’t care how my goals came, whether I was smashing one into the top corner from 30 yards, which I don’t recall ever happening, or if I was tapping one home from three yards, which I think made up quite a few of my 239 career goals.
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Some people have made me chuckle in the past couple of weeks suggesting Jordan won't fit the style of play that Norwich have, which I find somewhat insulting if I’m honest. I’ve been asked a few times by Norwich supporters over the last couple of seasons if I’d fit into this Norwich system and style of play, and my answer is always the same - a resounding ‘YES’!
Why wouldn’t I fit into it and why wouldn’t the style of football suit me? Is it because I’m a typical old-fashioned number 9? In my second and third season at Leicester under Mark McGhee and Martin O’Neill we were known as a footballing side and the same applied for the Wolves team I played for in the 96-97 season.
The fundamentals of the game are the same. Granted there’s a slight difference these days playing one up front and I get that. But believe it or not this system of playing one striker up top with a so-called number 10 behind him, basically a second centre-forward, wasn’t invented in recent years.
When I played with Craig Bellamy for Norwich, Craig wouldn’t stand up next to me all the time and hold my hand. He’d be everywhere looking for the ball, he’d drop deep, you’d find him on the right one minute then on the left and quite often I’d find myself isolated up front on my own.
I think the point I’m trying to make is in the last couple of games Hugill’s shown that he’s got all the tools that’s needed and is more than capable of filling in for Teemu Pukki.