Wideman continues promising season with Ireland successIn the latest edition of his monthly blog, Senior Club Journalist Ben Mouncerlooks at the impressive form of summer signing Robbie Brady.
ROBBIE Brady’s starring display on Monday, helping the Republic of Ireland qualify for next year’s European Championships, will have come as no shock to the Norwich City supporters whose admiration he has wasted little time in earning.
Victory over Bosnia, with the jubilant scenes of celebration in the Aviva Stadium afterwards, will rank as Brady’s highest point in a season of progress; a campaign just three months old but one in which he has rapidly established himself as one of Alex Neil’s most vital cogs.
Now we know why Neil was so eager to complete a transfer that at times, during the chase, looked as though it wasn’t going to materialise. The pursuit eventually ended in late July as the 23-year-old finalised his move from Hull, becoming the Canaries’ third summer recruit.
“He’ll be an absolutely perfect fit for us. Hopefully he can go on and show everything that we think he’s capable of.” Those were the words of his manager at the time, and Brady hasn’t let Neil or anyone of a yellow and green persuasion down.
The impact of full-backs is never underestimated in the modern game, and out-and-out left-sided options are even more valuable commodities. Throw into the equation that he is potent in any role down that flank, plus the fact that he’s still got his peak years ahead of him, and it becomes clear that his recruitment rates as a very successful piece of transfer window business by the club.
Like all top players, Brady marries his gift with a resolute spirit.
His energy and boundless enthusiasm immediately get fans onside; he is seldom far away from the action during the 90 minutes, never hiding from responsibility. When that responsibility is thrust upon him, his play - a charging run, a positive forward pass, a wicked delivery - is executed with conviction, not fear.
The goal he netted at West Ham in September highlighted his physical and technical skill as he sped on to Mark Noble’s loose pass, effortlessly sidestepped the onrushing James Tomkins and finished confidently beyond Adrian. At the time, it unfolded in one fast blur of action.
That afternoon Brady played on the left wing, but it’s his stints as a marauding full-back which have arguably produced his most impressive performances to date. With more of the pitch in front of him, the ex-Man Utd youngster is able to spot and then work his combinations.
He dovetails particularly well with Matt Jarvis, a wideman whose natural inclination to cut inside on his right foot opens up the space for Brady to fill. If his adventures take him into central areas, it’s often countryman and close friend Wes Hoolahan who’s the willing co-conspirator in a swift pass-and-move, another string to Brady’s bow.
When called upon, his defending is dogged and persistent, but it’s his offensive forays that catch the eye. Jonathan Walters might have struck Ireland’s two blows in Dublin earlier this week but as much of the talk after the whistle was about another talisman, the star who assisted Walters’ second three days after emerging from the Zenica fog himself to net the priceless away goal.
On an unforgettable weekend for Irish football, the rise of Robbie Brady continued.