Kieran Dowell scored a brace in the first half in the Norwich City friendly at King’s Lynn
– Photo credit: Ian Burt / Archant
Group football editor Paddy Davitt gives his verdict on King’s Lynn Town after Norwich City’s 3-1 friendly win.
For so many reasons, it was the sight of Norfolk’s two leading clubs in the warm evening sun dueled with the fans present at The Walks, a sight that lifts the mood. The result was irrelevant as the pursuit of fitness was paramount during this pre-season phase. But Kieran Dowell’s brace and a late finish by Adam Idah sent the vast majority of those present happy home.
Dowell ended last season with five goals in 10 games and with Emi Buendia and Mario Vrancic and Marco Stiepermann is in the premier League plans by Daniel Farke to open up a creative pivot.
Farke had the chance to take control of Billy Gilmour and Milot Rashica and reveal a departure from the base line-up that his side had one last season brought second championship title. Christoph Zimmermann, Jacob Sorensen and Andrew Omombamidele formed a defensive threesome. There was a sense of experimentation, as you would expect at this stage. Farke will only show his hand in the top division very shortly before the league visit to Liverpool. But he may have taken more from competitive Lynn workout than a one-sided affair.
From Wembley to the Walks. Gilmour, who undoubtedly went on some voyage to the delight of the Norwich fans in attendance and those who were convinced of Chelsea or the Rangers, saw the live feed, made a quick public appearance following his move last season. The hype surrounding Gilmour tells you what a prospect he is. On that earlier Wembley date, he played in the 0-0 draw of Euro2020 against an English team that advanced to the final.
A period of self-isolation restricted his own tournament and perhaps delayed the formalities of his move to the Canary Islands .
But this 45-minute opening was worth it. Forget his relative inexperience or tender years, Gilmour challenged City’s threesomes in central defense. It gave glimpses of its apparent quality in possession; the touch, balance and awareness of feeding Mumba twice in Bali and a wonderful first driving pass for Milot Rashica were a delight. Gilmour doesn’t bring the aggression and defensive retrieval work of an Olly Skipp.
But you sense his arrival is a signal that City will seek some degree of control and the ability to set the pace when the real action begins. The right mix of midfielders around Gilmour is now the key.
The Werder Bremen club’s signing this summer said the right things when it was officially unveiled on Thursday. But it’s what he can bring to the field that city fans will love. He played in an advanced role on the left of Norwich and flanked Jordan Hugill in the first half. He took every opportunity to dive in and try his luck on his right foot.
The radar may have been a little crooked when it mattered most, but the intent and drive were encouraging signs against the neighbors of the National League.
Rashica spoke on Thursday about how to adapt to Farke’s demands and the high intensity of training. At this early stage of the pre-season phase, these friendlies are simply an extension of that general pursuit of fitness.
The sharpness in the final third will come. But for a club that knows that sometimes in the Premier League they won’t be able to dictate through possession alone, counter-attacking with the pace and thrust of a Rashica is a useful asset to Farke.
Ian For the most part, Culverhouse will have taken away a lot from the way his squad started, until perhaps in the last quarter of the Canaries’ better fitness became known. They more than deserved a first-half goal from Ross Barrows after Junior Morais’ stunning opening shot was fired from Angus Gunn’s bar.
Given the pedigree of many former Football League clubs now operating at the same level, inevitably another season of struggle is predicted. But look around on the walks – both inside and outside the park – and you can see the tremendous progress this proud club in West Norfolk has made over the past few seasons.
At Culverhouse they have a smart, talented trainer who goes beyond the sum of the resources available to him. Norfolk needs a vibrant football scene below the Premier League canaries. What a campaign are they both facing. Few outside the county will imagine their chances of staying awake. But both clubs seem to be on the right track.
Jacob Sorensen, who has been operating in a defensive threesome from kick-off, will raise an eyebrow or two at those who look inside. We know everything about the Dane’s versatility after this lengthy shift on left-back when the club won the title. Sorensen was recruited as a central midfielder but acted as a central defender for the Danes in the U21s. With the Celtic Kris Ajer saga set to be resolved in the hours and days ahead as Brentford makes a club record buy, City’s key defensive stocks continue to be scrutinized.
Farke has four options at the forefront when you add omobamidele. But perhaps Sorensen shouldn’t be overlooked if Farke saw a defensive threesome as part of his flexible tactical planning.
Fresh from a new longer-term Carrow Road deal announced last week, Farke’s comments showed in the Following that announcement when he pointed out why Sorensen is now one of the most valuable members of his group. In truth, his defensive spirit has not been seriously tested on Lynn, but it will be interesting to see if the experiment will be repeated over the course of the preseason.
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