'He was one of the great striker talents' – Vrancic recalls his journey with Norwich City's man of the moment
The impact of Marco Stiepermann is not lost on the Norwich City team-mate who probably knows him as well as anyone.
Substitute Mario Vrancic’s 86th minute penalty booked the Canaries’ fifth successive win in all competitions – but Stiepermann was the continual driving force carving opportunities as Daniel Farke’s men searched for a way through against Wigan on Saturday.
Both players arrived in the summer of 2017 from Germany – and it’s fair to say both are now looking every inch the slick Championship operators.
“The new Marco Stiepermann? That sounds nice!” said Vrancic. “He’s pretty funny, pretty crazy. I’ve known him now for so long and he’s a great character, a great player, and he’s helping us a lot at the moment in that position.
“As you say, he played different positions last season and maybe it didn’t suit him.
“I remember him maybe seven or eight years ago, when we played for a while together at Borussia Dortmund for their Under-23s.
“He was one of the great striker talents in Germany, one of the biggest. He was 18-19 – and then he went to right wing, signed for another club in Germany and all of a sudden he moved to a number eight, so a central midfielder.
“Then at another former club someone got injured so he ended up playing at left-back, so he has always been flexible to play everywhere.
“But I think it suits him that he plays a more offensive position. He’s pretty quick, pretty strong and obviously he has a great left foot, which is always great to have on the pitch.
“He’s having a great impact currently and he needs to keep going, definitely. The only thing he really didn’t do was score and he had a few chances again. Maybe against Derby he will use his chance, let’s see.
“But he really is having a great impact. It’s just suiting him to play this offensive role. He played it for 20 years and it’s in his ability to play like that.”
It’s a trip to Frank Lampard’s Derby next come Wednesday night – who perhaps surprisingly will start the evening a point and four places below City.
And it will represent another opportunity for the Canaries’ recruits over the past 18 months to show just how much they have adapted to life in the English second tier.
“We had many players from abroad last season who needed the time to settle in – including me – and it helps of course if you have enough time to adapt to the great and tough football,” added Vrancic.
“If the results are successful, of course you enjoy it more.”
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