Tuesday 25 April 2017

Versatile Brady happy to break scoring duck for Norwich

Norwich City's Robbie Brady: 'It’s been a while since I played high up the pitch. When the ball was played across at the back, I saw the defender wasn’t getting there, and managed to get onto it and put it away'
Norwich City's Robbie Brady: 'It’s been a while since I played high up the pitch. When the ball was played across at the back, I saw the defender wasn’t getting there, and managed to get onto it and put it away'

John Fallon

After being shifted into attack for the first time this season on Saturday, Norwich City's Irish international Robbie Brady didn't take long to rediscover his goalscoring boots.

Brady's early goal at Upton Park wasn't enough for the Canaries to register a crucial victory as West Ham United twice battled back to claim a 2-2 draw but Martin O'Neill's first-choice left-back enjoyed resuming the position which first brought him acclaim.

The Dubliner was still attempting to break into Manchester United's first team when he became the record scorer for Ireland's U-21s in 2012 and, despite both Norwich and Ireland now deploying him in defensive roles, his goalscoring threat for both teams was evidenced by his instinctive finish against the Hammers.

"Growing up, I'd always been an attacking-minded player so the opportunity to play up there on Saturday was good," said the 23-year-old, a year on from his last Premier League goal, then as a Hull City player.

"It's been a while since I played high up the pitch. When the ball was played across at the back, I saw the defender wasn't getting there, and managed to get onto it and put it away.

Sloppy

"The frustrating thing was not holding on for the three points. We got sloppy in our play towards the end, West Ham brought on some of their big lads, and the late equaliser came.

"Still, it's a good away point and keeps us with a decent start to the season for us."

Elsewhere on the penultimate weekend of fixtures before Ireland assemble for the concluding Euro 2016 qualifiers against Germany and Poland, Jon Walters collected his third goal of the season.

The striker opened the scoring in Stoke City's 2-1 win over Bournemouth, another illustration of his worth to a club unwilling to meet his contract demands as his current deal nears expiration.

Marc Wilson's absence from the Potters squad due to a calf strain may represent a concern for O'Neill, especially as the man who recently displaced him at centre-back in the Ireland team, Ciaran Clark, hasn't kicked a ball in the Premier League since returning to Aston Villa from international duty.

The saga surrounding the allegiance of Clark's clubmate Jack Grealish continues following a report yesterday that the Ireland U-21 winger has chosen to switch to England. An update on the tug-of-war is expected on Thursday when Roy Hodgson names his squad for the final qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania.

In the Championship, Joe Mason - watched lately by O'Neill yet not deemed worthy of inclusion in his bloated 40-man squad - scored for the fourth time this season in Cardiff City's 2-1 win over Charlton.

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