Norwich City: Assessing Ricky Van Wolfswinkel's Start to Life at Carrow Road

Andy Ward@@Wardy1710Contributor IISeptember 4, 2013

Norwich City: Assessing Ricky Van Wolfswinkel's Start to Life at Carrow Road

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    A lot was expected of Ricky van Wolfswinkel when he decided to move to England to try his luck in the Premier League with Norwich City, and his first few appearances in a Canaries shirt have been a steep learning curve.

    He endeared himself to everyone at Carrow Road with a superb goal on his début, but has since found goalscoring opportunities hard to come by.

    The international break has come at a good time for the Dutchman to look back on the opening weeks of the season and reflect on what he's done well and what he could do better, and he should come back ready to fire against Tottenham Hotspur in just over a week's time.

    Here's an assessment of van Wolfswinkel's first month on English soil.

1. He Needs More Service

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    Like most strikers, Ricky van Wolfswinkel is a player that is heavily reliant on the amount of service that he is provided with, and in the opening weeks of the season that supply line has been lacking.

    However, it's still early days and as a result, van Wolfswinkel's team-mates are still in the process of learning how best to utilise his undoubted talents.

    At times, van Wolfswinkel, not through much fault of his own, has looked isolated at the summit of the Canaries attack and Norwich must get more bodies around him in the future in order to offer him more support. 

    We have seen that van Wolfswinkel's movement off the ball is of the highest order, but as of yet, the Dutchman's team-mates haven't often been able to pick him out.

    This is something that should come with time as creative players like Nathan Redmond and Robert Snodgrass start to understand the sort of runs that van Wolfswinkel consistently makes, and the physical presence of Johan Elmander should also help to ease the workload on the 24-year-old.

    The sooner that the Canaries can "Feed the Wolf," the better, and once the supply line into him starts to click, fans can expect to see van Wolfswinkel involved in the thick of the action a lot more. 

2. He's Struggled with the Physical Nature of the Premier League

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    The physicality of the Premier League has undeniably been a bit of a culture shock for van Wolfswinkel, and he will need time to adapt to his new surroundings.

    The Dutch international has spent the majority of his career in the Eredivisie and the Portuguese Primeira Ligatwo leagues that are far more focussed on the technical side of the game in comparison to the blood and thunder of English football.

    In the Premier League, you come up against 6-foot-plus man-mountains every week, and van Wolfswinkel has understandably found that transition hard to deal with.

    It's been a tough introduction, and he has certainly taken a few knocks and bruises during his first three appearances in a yellow shirt.

    He has spent the majority of his time so far battling for supremacy with the opposition's centre halves, and you would have to say that he has been marshalled very well on the whole. 

    However, Norwich City fans need to understand that it is never easy settling into a new country and a new footballing culture, and van Wolfswinkel should grow into the league as he starts to get used to the English way of doing things.

3. He's a Clinical Finisher

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    Ricky van Wolfswinkel's début against Everton was a performance that typified all great goalscorers, in that he wasn't seen for the majority of the game but still managed to get himself on the score sheet.

    In fact, van Wolfswinkel's 12 touches against the Toffees was the lowest total in 90 minutes of action for six years (Give Me Sport), but it's testament to him that he was still able to convert one of those touches into a precious equaliser. 

    He showed a real killer instinct to be able to react to Steven Whittaker's mis-hit shot and guide the ball into the back of the net, and such a ruthlessness gives great encouragement for the future.

    In truth, that remains the solitary opportunity that van Wolfswinkel has had on goal so far, and as a result, he hasn't been able to add to his tally in the following two fixtures.

    However, van Wolfswinkel is a natural finisher, much like his Canaries team-mate Gary Hooper, and if Norwich City are able to provide the duo with chances then you would back them to score more often than not.

Grade so Far: B -

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    It hasn't been all plain sailing for van Wolfswinkel in his first few weeks as a Norwich City player, and he and his team-mates alike have room for improvement before things really start to progress.

    The more that van Wolfswinkel plays in England, the better that he is likely to become, and he must be given breathing space from supporters to get up to speed with the Premier League.

    Once he reaches the required level, his goalscoring exploits against Everton are all the proof needed that he should develop into a huge asset for the Canaries, and as such the future for both player and club could look very bright indeed.

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