March 15 2014 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Monday, December 16, 2013
Gary Hooper would be the first to hail the selfless contribution of Johan Elmander, insists Norwich City boss Chris Hughton.
The Swedish international has yet to open his Premier League goal account since returning to England but was instrumental in Hooper’s instinctive equaliser against Swansea. Elmander was eventually replaced by Luciano Becchio after another workaholic shift for very little personal reward.
“It is certainly worth a mention for me because Johan is that type of player,” said Hughton. “He covers real good distances in a game and it allows us to play two up front with someone working as hard as that. I know Gary appreciates the work-rate of Johan around him. Most of the goals Gary will score are the ones where he is reliant on service and I thought the ball was set up very nicely for him.”
Hooper’s instinctive strike proved something out of the ordinary in a game Swansea had largely established a measure of control.
“It was a fantastic goal,” said Hughton. “I think with all strikers they look back at their goals come the end of the season and the majority are classic centre forward goals, good penalty box action and tap ins, but they also look back at the special goals and I thought it was a very special one. They are the goals you don’t bank on from your strikers.
“Whether it is Ricky (van Wolfswinkel) or Luciano or Johan you expect them to score the ones inside the box. He showed great technique and quality. He is a finisher and he is a technically good striker of a ball so that will always give him a chance to score goals.
“He is looking fitter and stronger with each game and there is no doubt what goals mean to him and us, but I’m almost as delighted about his general game and his work for the team.”
Hughton opted not to draft van Wolfswinkel back into his plans.
“He would in all probability have been on the bench but he only had three days training with the team,” said Hughton.