I will admit to not being sure about giving Alex Tettey a new two-year deal and I can now also admit to being a little concerned about some “lightweight” displays from Moritz Leitner at the end of last season.
Now though? It’s a totally different scenario.
Leitner signed permanently and he has become an instrumental part of a midfield fulcrum with Tettey that the basis of City’s game revolves around.
I can remember Alex Neil praising Tettey and saying that he had no other player like him in his squad and that he was crucial to the way the team played. That is as true now as it was then.
After another fine performance from the captain, it's time to talk Tettey.
Norwich City's record since the start of the 2017/18 season…
With Alex Tettey:
Conceded 29 (0.85 p/g)
Without Alex Tettey:
— NCFC Numbers (@ncfcnumbers) October 3, 2018
After a similar resurgence, last September the midfield fulcrum was Tom Trybull and Tettey and I think most of us expected that when both were fit that they would be the pairing in front of the back four. Leitner’s impressive form has left Super Tom kicking his heels on the bench though.
In the run-up to the Derby County game, Daniel Farke described Trybull as training at “Barcelona levels” and that it was currently very hard to leave him out of the side. The player keeping him out, I fancy, is Mo Leitner.
There were some City fans who questioned what Leitner brought to the team last season but it’s all gone quiet on that front now. Mo is clearly happy and enjoying his football and is really putting in some eye-catching performances at the moment.
He always wants the ball, even when tightly marked he is available for a teammate under pressure, and like a good chess player is always at least one move ahead of what is currently happening. His awareness of where the rest of his teammates are allows him to play some ridiculously good passes. Short or long, he has the passing repertoire to find a yellow shirt more often than not.
— NCFC Numbers (@ncfcnumbers) September 15, 2018
A misplaced Leitner pass is becoming something of a rarity these days and the technical ability and level he is now operating at really make the Canaries tick. He isn’t going to score loads of goals from that deep-lying “quarterback” position but just like Tom Brady, he can make the passes to make things happen.
Alex Tettey’s athleticism and strength are the keys to allowing Mo to have the freedom to play. He has always been a destructive type of player, winning the ball and giving it quickly to someone who can play. Recently though he is also able to get further forward and he’s become a goal threat.
His great strike against Preston fits the Tettey goal scoring portfolio – Alex rarely scores a tap in. It’s a worldie or nothing most often for our Alex.
The fact that Leitner is keeping Trybull out of the side, as well as Louis Thompson and Kenny McLean also being options for that central role alongside Tettey, show you how well he’s playing, they’re both playing.
There’s strength in depth in the City squad with Ben Godfrey also an option but clearly, he is predominantly a central defender in Farke’s view.
Alex Tettey could’ve earned a lot more money if he’d left Norwich in the summer. He could easily have matched that Premier League value contract he was on had he left but he likes the area and from what I understand, re-signed on a deal that was worth about a third of what he had been earning on his old contract.
He is still unique in the squad and proved his value to Farke within a month of last season starting. He has been an ever-present ever since, knees allowing, for Farke and even the knees seem to be giving a lot more than I thought they could. I imagine he is carefully managed and rested to turn in these levels of performance.
Leitner and Tettey are the heartbeats of Norwich City and a major reason as to why the team have gone on such a good run since the last international break. If Norwich can win another game on that run, against Stoke on Saturday, then you can bet your pocket money on these two lads being right at the centre of it.