Ex-Norwich City striker Grant Holt has suggested that keeping hold of the likes of Max Aarons, Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell, and Teemu Pukki has been the key to their dominance in the Championship this term, speaking exclusively to Football League World.
Daniel Farke’s side finished bottom of the Premier League and were relegated last season but have bounced back in style, earning promotion to the top flight already with the Championship title surely set to follow.
Despite a fair bit of interest, the Carrow Road club were able to keep hold of most of their key players last summer – with Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis the only big-name departures – and have reaped the rewards this term.
Holt now holds a backroom position at the club and is well placed to provide unique insight into the Canaries’ impressive 2020/21 campaign, having won promotion with the club himself previously.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Football League World, the former Norwich striker suggested the club’s stance on transfers last summer has been pivotal to their success this term.
Asked whether he was surprised by how well Farke’s squad had bounced back from the disappointment of relegation, Holt said: “No, not at all.
“Without getting smug, I said at the start of the season that the best business we did last year was keeping the quality we’ve got. We had to let Ben Godfrey go, that was a big loss, and Jamal Lewis went to Newcastle – those were good deals for the football club when they left.
“The key was to keep Max (Aarons), Emi (Buendia), Teemu (Pukki), and Todd (Cantwell) to name but a few. You could go through the whole team, there are some great players in there that have done well in the Championship and the season before had done well in the Premier League.
“As soon as I knew they were staying, and I’m privileged to work at the football club so I knew they were staying in the building, there was no doubt in my mind that this team would go on to get promoted and win the league.
“I said that from the start and I’ve been proven right because they’re just better than everyone. They were better than everyone last time when they could work out what Daniel or the team were doing.
“We’ve got players that have been at Premier League level, so we’ve got the best squad, we’ve got the best players, we’ve got a manager’s philosophy that the players know inside out, and I didn’t think there was any doubt.”
Holt’s role as a club ambassador and member of the recruitment department has allowed him access to what is going on behind the scenes at Carrow Road.
It was his knowledge of Farke’s methods that meant he was full of confidence ahead of the current season.
“One of the main reasons is that I know how Daniel works,” he explained. “I know the work that they put in behind the scenes, the fitness level that they put in, the detail that they put in. I knew that they wouldn’t let them rest in lockdown. I knew that they’d make sure they were tiptop, as fit as they could be.
“The sessions that I’ve seen them do, I knew they’d be fit and strong regardless of what happened. I think that’s been evident in the number of times they’ve overrun people at the end of games. It’s been brilliant.”
Norwich head into their penultimate game of the Championship season on Saturday knowing that whatever Watford’s result, a win will see them crowned champions.
Grant Holt is supporting the nationwide “Your Club Your Kit” competition on behalf of Your Move, Official Communities Supporter of the EFL. To help your local grassroots team and enter the kit competition visit: www.your-move.co.uk/kit