EPL: The Curious Case of Norwich City's David Fox

Andy Ward@@Wardy1710Contributor IIJanuary 10, 2013

NORWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 22:  David Fox of Norwich City in action during the Adam Drury Testimonial Match between Norwich City and Celtic at Carrow Road on May 22, 2012 in Norwich, England.  (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Pete Norton/Getty Images

It has been a surreal 18 months for David Fox.

The Norwich playmaker has experienced a whole range of emotions; from the ecstasy of coming third in the Canaries Player of the Season Awards last year to struggling to even make the bench this time out.

It truly has been an amazing fall from grace for a player that was consistently a pivotal cog in Paul Lambert's well-oiled machine since arriving from Colchester United in 2010, but has barely featured since the moment that Chris Hughton first walked through the Carrow Road gates in the summer. 

Not that Fox could have ever envisaged such a state of affairs on the horizon.

The 29-year-old was rightly rewarded for his superb début season in the Premier League with a new two-year contract only last September, which was surely an indication that he was firmly in Hughton's plans for the rest of the forthcoming campaign, but it simply hasn't worked out like that. 

In fairness to the City manager, he has found a central midfield combination that has worked for him.

The dynamic duo of Bradley Johnson and Alex Tettey have combined wonderfully together and have been vitally important in making Norwich a lot harder to break down in comparison to the often cavalier approach to defending under Lambert's management. 

However, despite the form of the aforementioned Johnson and Tettey, Fox still must be scratching his head at exactly why he has only managed to feature on just one occasion for the Club in the Premier League this season. 

Just last year, it had all looked a lot rosier for Fox, who was clearly enjoying his chance to shine on the biggest stage of all after a relatively nomadic career beforehand, with his ability to keep the Canaries ticking over in possession—a trait that endeared him to both his fellow players and the Clubs supporters.

Finishing third in the race for the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy last season showed exactly just how much the fans appreciated Fox's contribution to the cause, and it must have been a boost to a player that has been criminally underrated at his previous Clubs.

He has often been a classic example of not knowing what you've got until it's gone, as former Blackpool boss Ian Holloway admitted to Sky Sports when Fox left Pool to join Colchester United:

In my way of playing he (Fox) might have been a very handy player for us. In my way he'd have kept the ball and kept us ticking over, so maybe I got that one wrong and let him go at the wrong time because he is a nice footballer.

As it was, Fox rejuvenated his career at The U's before making the switch to Norfolk where he was a virtual ever-present before Hughton's arrival.

Fox did get a rare run out last week in the FA cup victory over Peterborough United, and sent a timely reminder to his boss of the ability that he possesses with a wonderful defence splitting pass to set up Simeon Jackson to double the Canaries advantage in the first half.

In all honesty, it seemed like he'd never been away, despite his lack of minutes. 

Of course, with the current occupiers of the midfield positions striking up such a good partnership, it was always going to be hard for Fox to force his way into the side, but City could perhaps benefit with a slight change in personnel in order to freshen things up.

The unforgiving Christmas schedule appears to have really taken its toll on Norwich, with the Club having suffered four defeats on the spin, and Fox will surely see the blip as a glimmer of hope in his quest to claim his starting place back.

At the age of 29, Fox cannot afford to be sitting on the sidelines, and it would come of little surprise if he seeks a move away from Carrow Road in search of regular first team football.

However, it could be argued that Fox still has something to offer the Canaries and there is still time for him to make an impression this season.

If not, Hughton could join Holloway in not realising the talent that Fox possesses before it's all too late.


Follow Andy Ward on Twitter