Michael Bailey: The one thing Pritch did brilliantly, that City must now continue to deliver
PUBLISHED: 21:01 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 21:01 12 January 2018
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Finally it’s done. Alex Pritchard is back in the Premier League. That was the desire that took him to Norwich City in the first place 18 months ago – and it’s why he has now left.
You can argue over why the Canaries sold out, how much money they have now got to play with and what they should do with it. But ultimately, the power that brought so many players to Norwich when other clubs looked on with jealously, is exactly what has taken such a lovely livewire as Pritchard to Huddersfield Town.
The prospect of the 24-year-old forward showing what he can do on a regular basis should be tantalising for football fans. He’s moving to a club where his skill-set is required and his pedigree should suit his high-profile move.
But then, no one at Carrow Road will need telling that. Neither will they want to hear it.
Beyond green and yellow spectacles is a player who other coaches may see as too small. One who didn’t make a top-flight impact during a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion. Perhaps one that struggles to remain fit enough to make an impression over the longer term.
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The list of traits Pritchard did bring to the Canaries table are duly noted. The biggest shame is that through injury – but also Alex Neil’s strange reluctance to trust him enough to play him – we saw them so infrequently.
While some left behind possess similar qualities, City are now without a player who knew how to pick up space and give himself an extra few seconds in midfield. A player who could player at a high, direct tempo and make the ball do the same – something we all wish Norwich would show more often.
His assists to James Maddison against Birmingham and Millwall, as well as Maddison’s return favour at St Andrew’s, showed how much those two promised – or to quote Maddison: “wavelength”.
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But actually, what I always liked about Pritchard wasn’t anything to do with the ball, but arguably what made him push for a top-flight move as soon as it presented itself.
Pritchard is a winner. He has an edge. It’s no surprise City rarely fell short when he played. He never let his team-mates to rest or his opponents an easy ride.
Despite only limited involvement this term and whether it’s Todd Cantwell, Marco Stiepermann or another who steps into his place, that is the one element Norwich must maintain – regardless of the new quality gap.
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