Yanic Wildschut could offer the X-factor, insists Norwich City old boy Raymond de Waard
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Yanic Wildschut appears to be in back in the mix after a rocky start to his Carrow Road career. Paddy Davitt speaks to a man who knows what he has gone through.
Yanic Wildschut can prove the doubters wrong at Norwich City, insists Raymond De Waard, another Dutch member of the Canaries’ wingers’ union.
De Waard made just four league starts in a frustrating 12-month spell under Bryan Hamilton at Carrow Road in 2000, before Nigel Worthington opted to offload the speed merchant.
Wildschut has struggled to justify his price tag following a deadline day move from Wigan in January 2017, but could be in line to feature in Saturday’s Championship kick-off at Fulham following some impressive pre-season displays under new head coach Daniel Farke.
“The transfer fee brings high expectations but a winger is always a bit dependent on supply,” said De Waard, who returned to play for AZ Alkmaar in his native Holland. “A typical winger can be invisible but then produce two or three moments to provide a perfect cross or break a defence. When he has the confidence and feels the support of the fans he will be more likely to go for that one versus one and open up defences.
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“These type of players are rare and if you use them well they can be a real threat. To be honest I haven’t seen Yanic play that much as I didn’t follow the clubs he played for in Holland. What we have in common is that we are both tall wingers, and my strengths were my pace, one versus one and a decent cross. I believe that is also what he was bought for. The issue might be how to make the most of his qualities and how the team can profit the most.”
De Waard knows exactly how difficult it was for Wildschut to try and establish himself in the first team picture at Carrow Road last season, after making a similar mid-season move back in 2000.
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“The season was already halfway through,” he said. “I had always played in a 4-3-3 and I started off well, although I had to get used to the speed of the game in the First Division. The midfield was often just skipped by playing long balls.
“After the summer I got injured during pre-season and the manager changed the system to 5-3-2, using wing backs. From a classic winger in a 4-3-3 I was expected to run from defence and I wasn’t used to that. I didn’t even get the chance to get used to it either, I started just one game and came on as a substitute a couple of times but that was it.
“It was a very frustrating period in my career. I wanted to show my qualities but never started a game, even though I played well in the reserves and in training.
“The manager kept saying to me that I was his main man and that I had to be patient but it was hard to watch from the bench or even the stand sometimes. I reckoned I could be a big hit with the fans but it wasn’t meant to be.”
De Waard’s only regret is he never got to show the City support what he was capable of.
“Norwich City is great club with great fans and I wanted to do well but it wasn’t meant to be,” he said. “It’s easy to say I failed or that I was a bad buy but I simply didn’t even get the chance to fail. I never got a run of games. If I did and I played bad then the overall opinion would be justified and it would be easier to accept.
“When Hamilton was sacked, Nigel Worthington took over. First thing he said to me was. “You can play in the Premier League”, and then I was on the transfer list. He needed money to bring in his own players. At that time I wasn’t that disappointed because AZ Alkmaar wanted me and that was a good team in Holland who played 4-3-3. Years later, looking back I felt a bit disappointed, to have played for such great club but never been able to show what I was capable of.”