Those who follow Championship football will likely be aware of Jordan Hugill’s goalscoring exploits over the last few seasons.
With the forward now a Norwich City number nine, canaries.co.uk spoke to Roshane Thomas, who covers West Ham for The Athletic and has kept a close eye on Hugill during his loan at Queens Park Rangers.
canaries.co.uk: What was your initial reaction to the news that Hugill had signed for Norwich?
RT: I was like, ‘wow!’ For a player like Jordan who is immensely talented to go for what he did is a bargain for a club like Norwich. I’m of the opinion that he’ll do very well at Norwich. At this point in his career, Jordan needs a bit of stability.
He’s been at a few clubs on loan like Middlesbrough and QPR. For him to sign for Norwich who are ambitious to get back in the Premier League, I reckon it’s the right fit for him.
canaries.co.uk: Can you tell us a bit more about the type of player he is, and how you think he’ll fit into the Norwich side?
RT: I’ve been covering West Ham for a while but I attended a few QPR matches to keep track of how Jordan was doing. The thing is, if he’s having a quiet game, he’s one of those players you keep on the pitch because he’s capable of scoring a winning goal.
He will miss a few chances but that happens to every striker and he keeps going, always asking for the ball. He doesn’t shy away from being in the limelight.
I forgot what game it was, but I remember a match when he missed a great chance in the last stage of the game and once the final whistle blew he was apologising to the fans because that’s the type of player he is.
He did really well at QPR - scoring 15 goals last season. Mark Warburton often plays a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2, but whenever it was the latter, Jordan Hugill and Nahki Wells performed really well together as a strike pair.
The thought of Jordan playing alongside Pukki in a similar formation is frightening for Championship defenders, in my opinion. At that level, he’s a proven goalscorer and we all know when Norwich went up how good Pukki was as well. That is a frightening combination.
canaries.co.uk: So why do you think he didn’t get much of a chance at West Ham, where he played just 22 minutes?
RT: 22 minutes! The club signed him from Preston and in my opinion he was more than good enough to get a chance, but when you’re signing as a second choice striker, it’s always tough to get game time at West Ham.
Quite often, they don’t get a fair chance. Look at Ajeti who went to Celtic as another example - it was a similar situation to Jordan as he never really got a chance.
I felt it was sort of disrespectful that he was never really given a chance, just 22 minutes during the course of six months when he could play week in, week out at Preston. The club could have at least given him more of a chance to do well.
During the course of Jordan’s career, he’s always risen above setbacks. He started his career at non-league and worked behind a bar but was able to rise above it and get his chance at Port Vale. He did well there.
He’ll never give up, always work for the cause and try to do well.
canaries.co.uk: Do you see him becoming a Premier League player again?
RT: He mentioned in your interview that he thinks he’s a Premier League player and I agree! He’s talented and Norwich will be a great fit for him. If they do win promotion at the first time of asking, it will be great for him to get that opportunity because he’s good enough.
There was one point at the start of last season where Jordan was on fire for QPR, scoring so many goals, and he was the leading goalscorer compared to all the West Ham players so the fans were saying ‘let’s call him back!’
At QPR and Middlesbrough he was the main man. We know Pukki is the main man in terms of goals at Norwich, but he can also be the main man for Norwich. He’s a proven goalscorer in the Championship. Providing he does well and Norwich win promotion, he can make the step up to the Premier League.