David Freezer: Sorensen setting high bar for City's intriguing left-back contest
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
It could soon be a case of famine to feast for Daniel Farke, as Norwich City's left-back options all of a sudden become plentiful.
Jacob Sorensen put in a hugely impressive performance in midweek, as City dominated Bristol City with a balanced and controlled display which packed an attacking punch. It could easily have been 4-0 or 5-0, against a decent side.
The Dane has impressed Canaries fans with his adaptability and composure after starting 18 consecutive league games during the frustrating absence of Villarreal loanee Xavi Quintilla due to hip problems.
With the Spaniard completing a spell of isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 and today's FA Cup tie also coming too soon for new signing Dimitris Giannoulis, it looks likely that Sorensen will have the chance to impress again at Barnsley.
If he can again show the balance of defensive tenacity and attacking impetus that he did in midweek, it's going to be very difficult to bring in either of Giannoulis or Quintilla when league action returns against Middlesbrough next weekend.
The 22-year-old will know his chances of shifting Tottenham loanee Olly Skipp from defensive midfield are slim at the moment as well but having also looked comfortable at centre-back when required, the Denmark Under-21 international has clearly earned Farke's trust and become an important member of this City squad.
That's not to say that there haven't been difficulties along the way. The messy penalty conceded at Stoke, the difficult Boxing Day up against Watford livewire Ismaila Sarr. He hasn't always looked comfortable but has always looked committed and determined.
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Attack has often been the best form of defence for the Canaries under Farke. We saw that when Bali Mumba replaced Sorensen during the home win over Swansea in November - setting off on a spirited attacking assault which pinned the Swans back and led to Marco Stiepermann's winner.
Mumba is also back in contention this weekend, after six weeks out with a knee injury and then having to isolate due to Covid-19. The 19-year-old has already shown he can play on either side so can't be discounted from the debate either.
Sam Byram is also hoping to be back in full training this month after almost a year out due to two hamstring surgeries. He was impressing at left-back in the Premier League last season and is certainly a Championship standard full-back, if he can recover fully.
Yet just three teams have conceded fewer than the leaders stingy total of 21 - with Swansea only letting in an impressive 13. So for Sorensen to be displaced, whoever the left-back coming in is they will need to show they can put their foot into a tackle and their head in where it hurts - like his crucial clearance at Cardiff last weekend.
Giannoulis is undoubtedly an exciting signing, he looks to have some serious ability, but there are plenty of examples of overseas signings taking time to settle at City: Mario Vrancic, Onel Hernandez and Marco Stiepermann, to name a few.
Sorensen is setting a high bar and contributed to Norwich sitting seven points clear of all their rivals with 21 games remaining. An intriguing and fierce competition is brewing, with Farke hoping to reap the benefits.
I'll finish on an FA Cup theme, thanks to the impressive memory of reader Alan Mallett, who got in touch following City's FA Cup win over Coventry.
Goals from Kenny McLean and Jordan Hugill had settled that tie within seven minutes at Carrow Road, the fastest the Canaries had scored twice in a match in over 18 years.
Mr Mallett wondered if I could have a rummage through our archives to check if he was remembering correctly that City had taken a 2-0 lead within five minutes against Southend at Carrow Road in January 1959.
I managed to find the EDP report in our library and it turns out it was even quicker, with Norwich scoring twice within the opening 90 seconds!
Errol Crossan and Terry Bly opened the scoring swiftly and Terry Allcock scored the first of his two goals in the ninth minute, in a 4-0 win in Division Three - just a week before the visit of Manchester United in the FA Cup which would bring a famous 3-0 victory in the snow and the unforgettable Pink Un headline 'Bly, Bly Babes'.
"I can’t help thinking that it must be an all time record for City and possibly even close to one for the Football League as a whole," Alan wonders after I'd sent him the EDP report of that day. If anyone can answer that question, I'm on email@example.com.
Two more early goals would certainly be very welcome against a tricky Barnsley at Oakwell today, where we can again enjoy the relative comfort of little pressure being on the result.
Win and get some more valuable minutes for the fit-again players, then all good. A home tie against Chelsea probably awaits - and some welcome unbudgeted prize money and broadcast revenue.
Lose and no tears will be shed, given the quite outstanding league position Farke's team have to focus on.