He did it again, where would Norwich City have been this season without James Maddison?
It`s a question that`s worth asking and with my quick back of a fag packet maths, I reckon his contribution to our season has been worth 19 points.
He has literally come out of the shadows and been the main man, a role that he appears to enjoy and revel in. He`s been the fan voted player of the month for the last four months and I can`t remember that happening ever before. Please correct me if my memory is patchy, I`m sure you will.
He`s been the main attacking threat but would he have started the season if Alex Pritchard had been fully fit in August?
With Wes Hoolahan understandably unable to play in every game, there`s every chance that Pritchard would`ve been playing the supporting role behind Nelson Oliveira. That would`ve seen James restricted to the bench, at least to start with.
Such has been his impact, that we are now all keeping everything crossed that he`s still here on Thursday morning. His ability will not have been ignored by the Premier League and his future is destined for the very top, in my opinion.
I`m sure that most of us will know that the chances of Madders still being a Canary next season are slim and none. Assuming we can keep him for the rest of the season then I expect him to only get better and better.
The goal he scored against Brentford was another sublime example of the magic that he`s got in his Nike Mercurial Vapour XIs.
The turn followed by the netmeg through Ryan Woods` legs and then that thunderous strike over Daniel Bentley, who was left clutching at thin air, were not only points winning they were another advertisement for England`s next great playmaker.
I know that`s a bold statement to be making but from the first minutes of this season, it has been apparent that Maddison wasn`t going to have a problem in making the grade in the Championship.
He creates chances, he scores from open play and he is a dead ball specialist. The goals he does score by the way, are rarely anything less than stunning. I don`t remember him ever scoring a tap in, do you?
With England U21 Manager, Aidy Boothroyd watching at Griffin Park, it wasn`t a bad time to score a 30 yard scorcher and with U21 qualifying games in the coming months, you can bet your house that Madders will be adding to his International Cap collection very soon.
He`s a bit of an idol among my lad and his group of 12 year old mates. When I asked him what name he wanted on the back of his shirt this season, my boy only had one answer, “James Maddison.” That was before a ball had even been kicked and stems back to him seeing Maddison nutmeg Tony Andreu in an open training session at Carrow Road before last season.
He`s also been having his hair cut like his hero for the last six months too.
That`s another thing that football clubs are interested in, the “brand” of individual players. Go to the Camp Nou club shop and it`s all about Lionel Messi – he is estimated to earn Barcelona ?150m a year in merchandise and sponsorship on his own and as a result, they pay him a third of that in annual salary.
David Beckham had repaid Real Madrid`s transfer fee to his new club within six months of his move to the Santiago Bernabeu, in shirt sales alone.
So you see, a player who is a superstar on the field can quickly become one off the field too, earning themselves and their clubs and sponsors huge fortunes.
Getting back to on field matters, Maddison is known and targeted by opposing teams as the Norwich dangerman every weekend. He suffers several “reducer” type tackles in most games and yet he`s still been able to perform. That`s something that all the best players have to put up with, Sanchez, Silva, Ronaldo and Messi for example, are kicked to pieces each and every week, it`s a measure of the fear they strike in the opposition and you can add Maddison to the list in our league.
I fully expect that Madders will leave us in the summer for a large fee and there`s nothing we can do about it. Sometimes, a player comes along who a club just can`t hold onto. We plucked him from Coventry while we were still a Premier League club and soon, a Premier League club will come calling and take him from us. It`s the circle of football life.
He will need to choose wisely as to where he goes because he needs to play to keep improving. There`s no point in moving to somewhere like Manchester United for £20m and £60k a week and never playing. He would be better moving to a club like Liverpool or Spurs, both of whom have managers who are progressive, modern coaches who are happy to play young players, if they are up to scratch.
This boy is the real deal, the jewel in the Canary crown and we`ve got to enjoy him while we can because he`s outgrowing Carrow Road at a rate of knots.
In the meantime, make sure you keep everything crossed for the next four days.