Ahead of the Boxing Day Clash at White Hart Lane, I spoke to James Copland of @NYCanaries in New York. The growth of the Premier League is great to see and many fans across the world watching English football at ridiculous hours of the day sounds extremely exciting. Here is James’ verdict on the Canaries, Tottenham and the game:
1) Norwich have been a bit of a yo-yo club in recent times, what has your return to the top flight been like?
It’s been a more enjoyable season than our last one in the top flight. We were awful the year we went down and played some absolute dire football under Hughton at the end. This year is different, we’ve played some good football and lost some close games. The manager is learning to adapt at this level slowly and recently we’ve been more cautious and tried to play on the break, sitting back and letting teams try and break us down. At the start of the season we were attacking sides like we did last season in the Championship, which is probably a little naive for this league. That said, look at Leicester, eh?
2) Alex Neill has gained a lot of plaudits since he took over, what is your verdict on him and the job he’s done at Carrow Road?
Alex appears to have the team firmly behind him and demands work rate and effort. He’s learning a great deal about the Premier League as he goes along this season, and in general, hes only 34! He’s a winner and Norwich fans took to him immediately. He has a great attitude, talks sense and demands high standards. There’s a great deal of belief that we have found a real gem who can take us forward.
3) Onto Spurs, what have you made of our start to the season, Mauricio Pochettino and the youngsters?
The last few years have been very inconsistent for Spurs haven’t they, I mean you never know what Spurs will turn up and you tried a lot of pricey players who didn’t work out. This season has been an improvement on that and and MP seems to have finally found a balance in the squad it seems. It’s good to see young players get a chance in the Premier League, most teams don’t have the guts to try them out. That was also the case at Spurs in the past, Harry Kane was loaned out all over the place, we had him for a spell at Norwich. You aren’t ready for Champions League football just yet, but maybe soon!
4) How do you think Neill will set up at White Hart Lane; playing expansively, sitting back or a bit of both?
I think we will play a very similar game to that at Chelsea, Man City and at Old Trafford last week. We’ll sit back and soak up the early pressure before growing in confidence as the game matures. We’ll look to transition from the back to front quickly when we regain possession, and push on in numbers.
5) In terms of dangermen, who should Pochettino be setting up to nullify in the Norwich team?
Wes Hoolahan, or Wessi as we like to call him, can be a little magician on his day. He links play well and creates chances – He’s always one to watch out for. Redmond has been inconsistent this term but when he is on his game he can be dangerous (as Manchester United found out). Jerome had a cracking game last week and will certainly start up top again, hopefully he’ll have bags of confidence after destroying Man U. Robbie Brady will start on the left, and for me he has been one of moat consistent players this season, pacey and capable of delivering some good crosses.
Your best hope of opening us up will likely be individual errors or a set piece. Were getting better at defending set pieces by the game but have conceeded some howlers this season, also, we’ve lost games because of individual mistakes. By the way, we’re also no stranger to playing youth, our keeper is only 24 and has been outstanding since coming into the team to replace John Ruddy.
6) Finally, can we get a prediction for the game – goal and goalscorers – from you?
I think a 1-1 draw is a good shout with a goal from Super Cam, BUT if we play as well as we did at Man U there’s no reason why we can’t dream and steal the points!