Now Norwich City has been promoted to the Premier League, there is no doubt that a string of new signings will be acquired. That process has already begun with the captures of James Vaughan and Steve Morison and they are likely to be joined by Bradley Johnson and Elliott Bennett by early next week. But will there be any scope for any of the Norwich City youngsters to get a chance to shine in the Premier League next season?
All the players in question are 21 years old or younger so would not need to be included in the 25 man squad in order to appear in the Premier League. The contenders are Tom Adeyemi, Korey Smith, Luke Daley, George Francomb, Josh Dawkin, Jed Steer and Matt Ball. All of these players are currently in the first-team and have squad numbers.
It’s likely that the majority of the players mentioned would be sent out on loan to gain more experience. However, that will partly depend on the level of cover available to Paul Lambert and may be reluctant to send players if that could leave him short. A prime example of that is the goalkeeping position with John Ruddy, Declan Rudd and Jed Steer. In an ideal world Lambert would want to send out Declan Rudd and Jed Steer on loan – but he is limited in his options to do so, because that would only leave John Ruddy. So it will be interesting to see if another goalkeeper is on Paul Lambert’s summer shopping list.
Rudd and Steer are both very highly rated goalkeepers both within and outside Norwich – in fact in some quarters they are considered to be future England keepers. But in order for them to realize their potential they need some regular first-team football and it would be a huge surprise if either suddenly became first choice at Norwich next season. So really the best solution is a loan move – but as I mentioned the cover has to be there to make that happen.
A similar dilemma may be at place in the right back area. In many ways Norwich got away with it last season; by keeping right-back Russell Martin free of injury and suspicion – because on the face of it Norwich didn’t seem to have cover. It was a slight surprise when George Francomb was sent out on loan to Barnet – bearing in mind he could have filled in at right-back. So it will certainly be interesting to see if what Lambert has in plan for Francomb this season. If no cover at right-back is signed would Paul Lambert be prepared to take similar risks in the Premier League?
Now, there were rumours last season that if anything did happen to Martin then Korey Smith would have filled in at right back. But Korey Smith is best used in midfield and of all the youngsters probably has the best chance of being involved next season. Smith played a full part in League One during Paul Lambert’s first season in charge. However last season he was used more as a back up player – but Korey remains a firm fans favourite for his ability and work rate and will be keen to be involved next season.
Tom Adeyemi came through with Korey Smith and has made some appearances in the Norwich first-team and some people have suggested that he is one keeping an eye on; especially due to his 6ft+ frame that could be crucial to his success. Adeyemi spent last season on loan at Bradford and with Norwich City now in the Premier League – it is likely that he will be sent out on loan again to gain some more experience.
Luke Daley is now 21 and if he is going to break into the team at Norwich then you would feel he would have to do so soon. Lambert has had a bit of a look given him some first-team action and had him on the bench – but like most Norwich fans is probably left a little bit perplexed by him. There is no doubt that Daley has a bit of pace about him – but not much else and it is also unclear if he is a striker or a winger; he neither looks like a goal-scorer or someone who can provide a quality delivery. It’s beginning to look like Luke Daley’s time at Norwich is numbered.
Josh Dawkin is one that could well be worth keeping an eye on; a direct winger who likes to model himself on the former Manchester United player Cristiano Ronaldo. So far Dawkin has had few appearances in the Norwich first-team – but if Daley moves on then next season could be his breakthrough year and he is certainly one to watch. Matt Ball is a bit of an unknown quantity at the moment and although the player was involved in the first-team at the end of last season, the midfielder though has yet to make his debut for the Norwich City first-team. Time will tell if he is around the squad next season or sent out on loan.
So it remains to be seen if any of these players with have a major part to play in Norwich City’s Premier League campaign next season. Korey Smith can expect to be involved in the squad especially with his ability to close down players – which could prove to be a vital ingredient for Norwich season if they are holding on to a slender lead. Therefore, Korey may find that he gets more game time next season than he did this season.
Norwich likes to play the 4-4-2 diamond which gives limited scope for the use of wingers. However, despite this Paul Lambert seems to be in the market for wide players and is widely expected to secure the deal for Elliott Bennett at the start of next week and may also be looking for another wide player. So all this makes me think that Josh Dawkin might just be the player to watch next season – but time will tell.