In Focus: Young Canary Idah can fly Norwich to safety

Cian Cheesbrough
Adam Idah scored his first Premier League goal against Everton
Adam Idah scored his first Premier League goal against Everton

Norwich’s bid for Premier League survival has appeared doomed for some time — but a victory over Everton on Saturday has breathed new life into their hopes of beating the drop.

Scoring what proved to be the decisive goal in the 2-1 victory was Adam Idah — who starred with a match-of-the-match performance at Carrow Road.

After climbing to within one point of safety, relegation for Dean Smith’s side may not be the foregone conclusion it had seemed.

But they will likely need the 20-year-old striker to continue producing in a similar vein.

Ahead of the Canaries’ six-pointer against Watford on Friday night, we turn the spotlight on the Republic of Ireland international.

Patience is a virtue

Idah’s influential display felt like the sudden shot in the arm Norwich needed but in reality the Irishman’s wait for a chance in the top flight has been a long time coming.

Ever since an FA Cup hat-trick against Preston in January 2020 aged just 18, he has been tipped for a bright future.

But since then, Idah’s development has not been as rapid as predicted and his opportunities have mostly been from the bench.

Despite winning 13 caps for his country, he has made only five Premier League starts across the Canaries' two stints in the top tier.

With Norwich on a six-game losing streak and struggling with a threadbare squad, Smith selected Idah up front with Teemu Pukki for the second game running after a bright showing against West Ham.

And it was undoubtedly his best top-flight performance yet.

Sticking it to the Toffees

While his goal grabbed the headlines, it was his all-round display which signified Idah could be a useful weapon for the East Anglians.

The towering forward gave a nervy Everton backline a torrid time with his strength and pace in a bright first half for the home side.

Flowing with confidence after going in front through Michael Keane's own goal, Norwich swiftly went 2-0 up with a well-taken finish by Idah.

And with the Toffees hunting to draw level after the break, the No35 was equally as influential in easing the pressure on the hosts with his hold-up play and progressive running with the ball.

Idah completed more passes (16) than he had in any of his previous three Premier League starts this season, a marked improvement on his ability to link up play with his team-mates.

Adam Idah was effective as Norwich's target man in their victory over Everton
Adam Idah was effective as Norwich's target man in their victory over Everton

With star striker Pukki best known for making runs in the channel, having someone next to him who can provide a platform to work from in attack could be a big bonus for Smith as we approach the business end of the season.

And on the youngster’s potential, Smith said: "I think ourselves and Adam are still finding out what type of player he is. 

"He is a lad who has got an awful lot of potential, physically strong, he is just starting to learn how to use his body but I thought he had done really well using it.

"He has got a great touch. He can finish. His first Premier League goal was well deserved."

All about the finish

Norwich still have numerous problems to deal with if they are to secure an unlikely survival — a key one being their ability to finish off chances.

Prior to Keane’s own goal on Saturday, the Canaries had gone six games — and over 500 minutes — without a Premier League goal to their name, their last being a Pukki strike at Newcastle in November.

So there is a vacant spot in Norwich's team for a goalscorer which Idah will want to make his.

The Cork native will know the best way of keeping his place is by staying among the goals but with Norwich creating a league-low 7.14 chances per 90 minutes, it will be no easy task.

Adam Idah was clinical with his limited chances against Everton
Adam Idah was clinical with his limited chances against Everton

He said after Saturday’s victory: "We believe we can stay in this league. We are good enough to stay in this league.

"I’ve been patient for the last two-and-a-half years and West Ham was my opportunity and I took it. 

"I just need to keep this going and hopefully stay in the team."

Victory in Friday's encounter could see the Canaries go clear of the bottom three for the first time this season.

With a maiden top-flight goal under his belt, Idah's contributions from here on in will be crucial to sustaining any escape bid.


Norwich CityPremier League

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