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Naughton signing completes Prem squad



With the last of the summer signings made, attentions turn to the identity of the names in the 25-man squad representing Norwich City in the Premier League this season.

Back in the long distant past of September 2009, the Premier League introduced a rule meaning that from the 2010-11 season, any team wanting to play in England`s top league had new squad regulations. As Norwich City gained promotion from the Championship last year, it will be one of the 20 clubs having to abide by this rule.

What is the rule?

In laymen`s terms, it says that all teams:

- Must have a maximum of 25 players over the age of 21, eight of which have to be 'home-grown`, known as the 25 man squad.

- Can add any number of players aged under 21.

- Home-grown players are those that have been signed to English or Welsh clubs for at least 36 months before their 21st birthday. They don`t have to be from these countries. Arsenal`s Cesc Fabregas is home-grown but Owen Hargreaves - who has played for England - is not.

How does NCFC`s squad compare?

At the time of writing, Norwich City have 29 professional first-team players over the age of 21 in their squad, of which five - Ritchie De Laet, Stephen Hughes, Wes Hoolahan, Simon Lappin and Steven Smith - are not classed as home-grown. Players under the age of 21 - including Declan Rudd, Korey Smith and Tom Adeyemi - can be added to the squad without being counted as being part of the 25 man squad.

So what must NCFC do?

It seems simple - all Paul Lambert needs to do is choose a minimum of four players he doesn`t want in his team. But picking the wrong set of players could mean the different between a second season in the Premier League, or an immediate return to the Championship. Looking at the different positions might give a clue as to who is in and who is out of the 25 squad.

Goalkeeper

Norwich City have three goalkeepers signed professionally, so these are the ones that will be used this season. John Ruddy is the only one of these three that is over the age of 21, so is the only one counted in the 25 man squad.

Over 21 Players - John Ruddy (1)

Under 21 Players - Declan Rudd, Jed Steer (2)

Defence

The new signings into the club would not join just to be guaranteed a place out of the team, so Ritchie De Laet and Kyle Naughton are automatically in the 25 man squad.

As for the seven players over the age of 21 that were part of the squad that gained promotion last May, six look to be part of this year`s campaign. The only player away from Carrow Road on the last day of the season, Steven Smith - who has had articles written about his homesickness, which I will not mention in great detail here - looks to be heading out of the club. All the other defenders should be a part of the squad for this year.

Under 21 defender George Francomb can be included in the team without adding to the 25 squad.

Over 21 Players - Leon Barnett, Ritchie De Laet*, Adam Drury, Russell Martin, Kyle Naughton, John Ruddy, Marc Tierney, Elliott Ward, Zak Whitbread (9)

Under 21 Players - George Francomb, Declan Rudd, Jed Steer (3)

Midfield

As with before, new signings are guaranteed a place in the 25 man squad. That leaves eight players fighting it out for places alongside the two new midfield signings.

First team regulars Andrew Crofts, Andrew Surman, Wes Hoolahan and David Fox are almost guaranteed places as a reward for gaining promotion.

Which leave question marks over the fringe players of the squad.

After spending a month on loan at MK Dons following unsuccessful attempts to get in the first team, Stephen Hughes looks to be on his way. It`s a similar position for Owain Tudur Jones, who has been on three loan spells during his two years with the club.

As for Simon Lappin and Anthony McNamee, it could be a case of being in the 25 man squad to provide added backup to the substitute bench.

Under 21 players including Korey Smith and Tom Adeyemi could be included into the team without adding to the 25 man squad.

Over 21 Players - Leon Barnett, Andrew Crofts, Ritchie De Laet*, Adam Drury, David Fox, Wes Hoolahan*, Simon Lappin*, Russell Martin, Anthony McNamee, Kyle Naughton, John Ruddy, Andrew Surman, Marc Tierney, Elliott Ward, Zak Whitbread (15)

Under 21 Players - Tom Adeyemi, Matt Ball, Josh Dawkin, George Francomb, Declan Rudd, Korey Smith, Jed Steer (7)

Strikers

The forward area is the most competitive as it has the highest number of players fighting for each place in the starting eleven.

As with before, the new signings` places in the 25 man squad are assured. This leaves six players fighting for limited places.

Anybody that thinks Grant Holt, Simeon Jackson and Chris Martin don`t deserve places in the 25 man squad hasn`t been watching Norwich City lately.

As for the rest of the strikers, their medium term future with Norwich City is in question.

A loan spell at Yeovil and his absence from the substitute bench seems to have signalled an end to Oli Johnson`s time at Norwich City.

Aaron Wilbraham was brought in from MK Dons as cover for the final few months of the 2010-11 season and has a contract until the end of this season. But his twelve league appearances last year have only resulted in one goal, not good enough when stepping up a league.

One player that divides opinion in Canaries fans is Cody McDonald. A successful spell with Gillingham in League Two has proven he is one for the future, cementing his place in the 25 man squad.

Over 21 Players - Leon Barnett, Andrew Crofts, Ritchie De Laet*, Cody McDonald, Adam Drury, David Fox, Wes Hoolahan*, Grant Holt, Simeon Jackson, Simon Lappin*, Chris Martin, Russell Martin, Steve Morison, Anthony McNamee, Kyle Naughton, Anthony Pilkington, John Ruddy, Andrew Surman, Marc Tierney, James Vaughan, Elliott Ward, Aaron Wilbraham, Zak Whitbread (23)

Under 21 Players - Tom Adeyemi, Matt Ball, Josh Dawkin, George Francomb, Declan Rudd, Korey Smith, Jed Steer (7)

* Indicates non-home-grown players

Overall

Norwich City could make a squad of 23 players over the age of 21 for the Premier League season, supplementing it with seven under 21 players. Of the 23 players, only three would not be classed as home-grown. This makes Norwich City more than capable of following the news squad rules.

We want to know what YOU think. Have your say by leaving a comment below, or click here to discuss this article in the forum.

You can also share your thoughts via Facebook (Facebook.com/VitalNorwich) or Twitter @VitalNorwich.


Join The Vital Debate
The Journalist

Writer: Rebecca Abbott Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday July 23 2011

Time: 9:13AM

Your Comments

Makes us 2 players light in my view - a GK and a midfielder. Would love to see Forster and Lansbury back, but hey you gotta trust PL!
Savvy_Monkey
You seem to have missed Elliott Bennett and Bradley Johnson.
BowthorpeCanary
Apart from those two missing players, this is really well written! I have even used it for reference in another article I'm writing.
Candid NCFC
 

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