The players I'd keep (and ship out) if I was the Norwich City boss
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:39 30 March 2017
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I bet I wasn't the only City fan who spent the international break on Saturday lapping up the sun and catching up on spring garden jobs.
As I trimmed away with my secateurs, my mind turned to the huge pruning job the new Canaries’ management team has in re-shaping the squad to get us fit for the future.
Who should stay and who should go?
Well, I’ve appointed myself as boss for just one week and picked who I’d keep and who I’d ship out.
I’m keeping 17 and getting rid of 10.
My first thought had to be even more brutal. However, a couple of lads who were doubts have made the cut as I think the new management team can get the best out of them.
So here goes:
*John Ruddy - IN. Big John has had a tough year and must have found it hard being frozen out at times. After seven years at the club, I still think he has a future here.
*Michael McGovern - IN. He has work to do on kicking and I sometimes question his presence. A very good shot stopper, though, and his international experience will help the squad.
*Ivo Pinto - IN. I love his attacking intent and he has been one of the positives in a difficult season.
*Steven Whittaker - OUT. An end to his career for Whitts back up north.
*Mitchell Dijks - IN. Yes, I know there’s a hardly a chance of him staying if we don’t go up but I’ve love to keep Dijks. I’d miss seeing those wingers bounce off him.
*Russell Martin - IN. Not my first name on the team sheet but I feel Russ should stay and has a role in the future in coaching/squad development.
*Timm Klose - IN. My first thought was under-performing Timm should leave. On thinking more, I feel the new broom will get him back to his prime.
*Seb Bassong - OUT. It’s a long while since we’ve seen the best of Seb.
*Michael Turner - OUT. Should do well in the Championship but we need to breed new younger defenders.
*Ryan Bennett - OUT. He hasn’t reached his potential and may benefit from a new start.
*Graham Dorrans - OUT. City need to rebuild the midfield and GD hasn’t shone brightly enough this year,
*Steven Naismith - OUT. I so much wanted him to succeed. He hasn’t done it consistently enough, though.
*Jonny Howson - IN. Make him captain and build the team around him.
*Matt Jarvis - OUT. So unfortunate with injuries, MJ has to have a fresh start elsewhere.
*Wes Hoolahan - IN. Give him the Westimonial. He can stay until he hangs up those tiny boots.
*Alex Tettey - IN. AT almost got the chop as he has been below his best this year. The crucial bite he possesses, however, persuades me to keep him.
*Ben Godfrey - IN. Great prospect. His versatility makes him a valuable asset.
*Yanic Wildschut - OUT. Controversial one, I know. He hasn’t settled and the big price tag seems to be playing on his mind,
*Youssouf Mulumbu - OUT. I tipped him to be player of the season when he arrived. One of the big earners the club needs to ship out.
*Louis Thompson - IN. Needs to get his chance and I’m confident he’ll take it.
*James Maddison - IN. We’ve seen what he can do elsewhere. Now we need to see it in a yellow and green shirt.
*Alex Pritchard - IN. AP has been a mixed bag this term. If he can work his magic week in, week out, he’ll be a star.
*Jacob Murphy - IN. So many positives from him in an under-performing side. Work to do on his fitness and I want him to be more direct. He should terrify defenders.
*Josh Murphy - IN. I’d love to see the twins hogging the touchline on either flank for the Canaries.
*Kyle Lafferty - OUT. Not sure where he’ll end up but his future lies away from NR1.
*Nelson Oliveira - IN. Frustrating that injuries and suspension have stunted his year. He’s proved he knows where the back of the net is.
*Cameron Jerome - IN. I love his workrate, passion and commitment to the cause. So many others could take a leaf out of his book.
So there we go, the pruning tool can go back in the shed.
What is even more important than the culling is the recruitment.
For too long Norwich haven’t covered themselves in glory in that department.
That has to be top of the in tray for the new sporting director - and has to be begin as soon as possible,
There is so much talent out there. We just need to find it.
Jonny, Cam and Jacob for me
It’s only the end of March and there are still eight games to go.
We can’t rule out an amazing run in leading City going to the play-offs.
There is still time for someone to make a real name for themselves.
However, assuming that doesn’t happen, I’ve already got my thoughts on a 1-2-3 for the player of the season awards.
Jonny Howson is the only man who can lift the Barry Butler trophy in my view.
In a generally poor season, he’s been a shining light of consistency. He is true class.
For me second place should go to Cameron Jerome.
Fourteen goals in 33 league games is no mean feat. But it’s his tireless effort as a sole front man which has really impressed me.
In third would be Jacob Murphy. He hasn’t been perfect and still lots to learn.
However, he has given us glimpses of what he can achieve and I’m delighted he’s made his international breakthrough.
Very little joy from watching England
I remember a time when I’d watch every minute of every England game without fail.
I’d wear my Three Lions shirt, go mad when we scored and be foomin’ when we conceded.
I don’t think I’m getting any less patriotic and still always want my country to win.
Tuning in to the national side is. however, not something I will automatically do.
My mum is a really keen football fan, so we tied in spending some time together on Mother’s Day with watching England v Lithuania. We enjoyed Defoe’s and Vardy’s goals, thought Rashford’s late cameo was impressive and were pleased at three more points in the World Cup campaign.
Generally, though, it was unfortunately a typically underwhelming performance which reinforced why I can’t get too excited about international football.
England were too pedestrian, over-patient and lacking in a spark. It’s club over country for me.