If anyone in the Norwich squad deserves another crack at the Premier League, it’s probably Adam Drury. The sole remaining link to Nigel Worthington’s 2003-4 champions, the ultra-consistent left back has never let anyone down and his future in the Hall of Fame is assured when he hangs up his boots. Virtually blameless in the Glenn Roeder-inspired relegation to League One – when he inexplicably lost his place to Ryan Bertrand for large parts of the season – he bounced back the following season to cruise through a league that was clearly beneath him.
He was one of the stand out players at the start of this season, forming a marauding full back partnership with Russell Martin, relishing the added attacking responsibility placed on him by Norwich’s midfield diamond. Drury’s tireless efforts over his Norwich career, where he has spent so much of it without much defensive help from midfield – yes, that’s you Hucks – is testament to his fitness and durability. He even scored a rare goal, in the 4-3 win over Leicester, and looked set to be a virtual ever present until first injury, and then “Mad” Marc Tierney, intervened.
The arrival of another left back was inevitable, with only Simon Lappin (never a left back) for cover following the departure of Steven Smith on loan, but few expected Tierney to grab his chance so impressively. When Drury returned to fitness he found Tierney blocking his path back into the team, but his calm head and promotion experience will have been invaluable in the dressing room and on the training pitch. It was fitting that Paul Lambert chose to give Drury the last 20 minutes of the last-day draw with Coventry. Nobody in a Norwich shirt deserved to be on the pitch more than he did at the final whistle, not just for his efforts this season and last, but for a decade of unstinting dedication.
As for next season, Drury is now 32 and as Lambert said earlier this year, “we need to look after Adam” as injuries have become more of a problem. He faces an uphill battle to shift Tierney, who I’m convinced is good enough for the Premier League, but one thing’s for sure – when called upon he won’t let anybody down. One final thought – quite how someone with legs so bandy you could drive an open-top bus through them is so effective in one-on-ones remains a mystery…
by Matt Ware