Nathan Redmond is not a saviour for Norwich City

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Jamie McDonald/Getty ImagesNorwich youngster Nathan Redmond showed his attacking qualities versus Everton, but still needs plenty of work with his defending.

Chris Hughton is right to urge caution with Nathan Redmond. Norwich City's teenage midfielder possesses enough raw material to be a future star for club and country.

The Birmingham-bred bundle of tricks and body swerves mesmerised Scotland's Under-21s on the eve of the new Premier League season under the watchful gaze of Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson. England's senior manager took charge of the country's finest emerging crop of young footballers with the FA still yet to identify Stuart Pearce's long-term successor.

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Hodgson spoke in glowing terms after watching English youth dismantle the Auld Enemy 6-0 at Sheffield's Bramall Lane. Redmond scored the first, was credited with one, or possibly two assists, and in tandem with Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, inflicted a cruelty on the Scottish defence that mercifully ended with Redmond's exit just past the hour mark. A man-of-the-match showing was followed by a similarly heralded top flight debut at the weekend in the Canaries' 2-2 opening day Carrow Road league draw against Everton.

Redmond left the stadium with the sponsors' man-of-the-match award and raised expectations from the City support. Norwich's most vibrant attacking spells in the opening period had Redmond at the epicentre. Yet for all the fresh plaudits, there was caveats attached. Redmond's defensive instincts were exposed by the Toffees' Republic of Ireland international Seamus Coleman; another of the younger generation but battle-hardened already after being fast-tracked through the ranks at Goodison Park.

Coleman exploited the disconnect between Redmond and Norwich's left-back, Javier Garrido. One goal and numerous dangerous incursions were a testament to a display every bit as eye-catching as Redmond's. Norwich's teen has plenty to learn and Hughton acknowledged post-match the steepness of the curve.

The Football League is a fertile breeding ground but the English top tier is a harsh spotlight that exposes any frailties or vulnerabilities. Redmond's attacking quality is already refined enough to cause damage, but to operate within Hughton's rigid formation he will have to exhibit a defensive awareness and a commitment to the shape that underpinned Norwich's Premier League survival last season.

The teenager may be one of seven new signings over the summer but Hughton is not about to abandon his tried and trusted formula. Attracting men like Redmond, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Leroy Fer is merely upgrading the quality of the resources he can deploy within a familiar framework.

Redmond will get all the time and patience he needs to develop. Hughton was a formative influence as he blossomed at his hometown club Birmingham. The 19-year-old alluded to as much when opting to snub genuine interest elsewhere in the Premier League to ply his trade in Norfolk. Redmond has a long and fruitful career ahead of him but the inevitable downside of headline-grabbing attention is to whip up the expectation around the young Midlander to unhelpful proportions. Mercifully, he has a manager who both recognises the talent in his midst and is prepared to shield the young prodigy to let it come to fruition.


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