Norwich City’s 2-0 pre-season win over Crawley, in a behind closed doors match played over 120 minutes and split into four 30 minute quarters, at Colney on Thursday afternoon has got me thinking.
Last season, our first XI was pretty much picking itself and we all knew, within a player or two, who we would pick on any given game day, if we were in Daniel Farke’s position.
Looking at the pre-season games so far, I’m thinking ahead and wondering who will play where and how often?
Compared to last season, the options at Farke’s disposal look as though they have been greatly increased and improved.
For example, we’ve suddenly gone from having only two strikers in Srbeny and Oliveira to double that amount with the arrivals of Pukki and Rhodes.
In midfield, the wealth of options is truly mind boggling. When you consider that we now have Leitner, Tettey, Godfrey, Trybull, McLean, Vrancic, Marshall, Buendia, Hernandez, Wildschut and Cantwell (phew), Farke has plenty of decisions to make about who starts, but for the first time in a while, we have real strength in depth. That goes for the defence too.
The trick though will be keeping all these players happy if they’re not playing and buying into the “squad mentality,” which means offering support at all times, whether they’re playing or not. It takes a certain type of character to do that and if I was a coach, they are the sort of blokes I’d want working for me.
The most obvious and public example of a player who doesn’t appear to fit that mould would be Nelson Oliveira and his future is, I would say, a little uncertain after the arrival of Jordan Rhodes, as competition for the title of the big name striker.
Nelson hasn’t been seen in any of these pre-season games yet and I’ve not seen much written about that. Maybe I’ve missed it and there is a genuine reason for his absence, injured perhaps? It wouldn’t be the first time.
There are, naturally, a few of these players who could go out on loan. Cantwell, Arrons, Wildschut and Godfrey are all candidates and the three younger lads will be looking to make a big impact on the gaffer over the next few weeks.
Next up is a week long trip to Germany with three more friendly games against Paderborn, Union Berlin and Wolfsburg. No doubt Farke will learn more in that time and it’ll be interesting to see if Nelson appears as well.
Its all good though, isn’t it? I’m feeling like we now have a half decent squad. The proof will be in the pudding but so far, so good.