Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Norwich’s promising midfield concoction has been one of the highlights of City’s early pre-season work for Neil Adams.
The Canaries’ boss has deployed a diamond and a more regulation midfield four to harness the pace and directness of Josh Murphy and Nathan Redmond along with the creative trickery of Wes Hoolahan and the balance afforded by Andrew Surman and Jonny Howson. Bradley Johnson and Alex Tettey have alternated in the anchor role and Adams is convinced he has the personnel and the tactical flexibility to gain the upper hand in a key area of the field.
“We’ve started with a diamond in both games which gives players the licence to get forward, particularly those corner players as I call them like Surman and Howson,” he said. “In that system they get a chance to push on. That was shown by the first goal (at Braintree) when a midfielder player was the furthest forward in the opposition penalty box. What you have to do is make sure you are ready and prepared to deal with a potential counter-attack.
“I was pleased with that performance. We moved the ball really well, as we should do with all due respect to the opposition, and we scored some really good goals. For an hour particularly our patterns of play were very good until we made one or two substitutions which disrupted things a little bit so I was really pleased the players did their jobs. We are trying to build fitness but the football was very good.”
Anthony Pilkington and Alex Tettey were two midfield options not at Adams’ disposal against the Iron, but both have travelled out to Italy as part of City’s 24-man squad.
“Anthony was sick all night on the Monday,” said Adams. “Nick Davies the sports scientist had it the day before and we are keeping fingers crossed now it doesn’t go through the squad. Pilks was going to play but phoned the physio on the early hours of the night to say he was being sick. Alex is another who would have played. He travelled with us but he had a bit of swelling on his knee. If it had been a league game he would probably have played but we won’t take any risks at this stage.”
City’s 6-1 romp at Conference Premier Braintree was also notable for Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s first brace in a Norwich shirt after his disappointing debut campaign, but the Dutchman has stayed behind in Norwich for treatment on a minor knee injury. The 25-year-old is not expected to miss the start of the Championship season at Wolves and Adams insists the club-record signing is up for the huge challenge ahead over the coming months.
“Ricky is a great lad and obviously confidence is a big thing and what you saw from him is the work rate and the effort is there,” said Adams. “He is still someone who is desperate to impress.
“All the Norwich fans will be delighted for him because it has been really tough for him and I just hope that continues because goals breed confidence and vice versa. That was great for him to score goals; no matter if it’s in a friendly, training or a league game strikers like scoring goals and we know he had a tough time of it.”