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Next up (told you there were lots) we have Stephen Curnow and his case for a German metronome, that isn't the one we all thought it would be back in October; Tom Trybull. He never gives the ball away, Eins, Zwei, Drei, Vier...
The general consensus is that Norwich City's 2018-19 season has thrown up no fewer than four worthy Player of the Season candidates. It's actually pretty ridiculous of course that three of Pukki, Zimmerman, Buendia and Aarons will come away without the Barry Butler trophy, and one of them won't even get on the podium.
Of course we quality of the nominees increases when the team is performing well, but even at times of comparative success, there's usually been room for recognition for a decent contribution from a mere mortal. For example, in our first year back in the Premier League under Paul Lambert, Grant Holt and John Ruddy deservedly led the way, but a solid and consistent contribution from David Fox meant that he came in a creditable third.
That these four have set such a scorching pace this season belies the quality of the supporting cast. The pursuit of the POTS trophy has become a bit like a Formula 1 Grand Prix this year. Everyone pretty much gets the point that the guys at the front of the field are pretty extraordinary, but it means that it's easy to forget that your Force India, your Toro Rosso and even your Footwork Mugen-Honda are still going along at a fair old chat in the midfield.
One man who personifies the midfield, so much so that there is a song to make the point, is Tom Trybull. In an uncharacteristic moment of clarity, Eric Cantona coined the term "water carrier" to describe the simple but necessary role that Didier Deschamps fulfilled in order to facilitate the talents of the more gifted in France's World Cup winners of 1998. Trybull, when not delivering pizzas to homeless people, it's fair to say Trybull must have delivered enough water this season to pretty much saturate the forward line of Hernandez, Buendia, Stipermann and Pukki this season.
The relentlessness with which we have attacked teams this season has given the impression of them being mercilessly suffocated in their defensive third, gasping for the clean air of the halfway line. Trybull has made it his mission to pin them there and squeeze the life out of them. Despite much of his work being primarily defensive, it has still been a joy to watch the vivaciousness with which he snaps around in front of our back four, hunting and lunging for possession, a neat headed lay-off here, a vital toe-poke there.
But Trybull has also brought a poise to his work borne of a wily positional acumen and a sense of anticipation. He's been the solid bedrock of all the good that goes on ahead of him.
Trybull covers more ground than any other player in the team and passes the ball with the greatest accuracy, but there's more in his locker than just being energetic and neat. The "holding midfielder" is sometimes a somewhat maligned position, occasionally mocked for being a comfy cocoon for players who aren't much good anywhere else, getting by making a career out of passing the ball two yards and pointing a lot. Yes, I'm looking at you Jordan Henderson.
Of course Trybull is primarily pretty conservative on the ball, but he has increasingly demonstrated a wider range to his passing, whilst of course never giving the ball away-yyyy. He's also chipped in with a couple of decent goals, even if the thunderbastard that he unleashed against the Reading post on Wednesday was probably a bit of a surprise to most of us.
Much has been made of Norwich having not won a game without Emi Buendia this season, but Trybull's vital stats make equally impressive reading. Prior to Trybull's reintroduction to the starting line-up against Birmingham City in January, we had averaged 1.8 points per game. Since he has been back in the side it's been 2.5. He missed only two minutes of the eight-match winning run which lasted until this week. We haven't lost a game this season when Trybull has played the full 90.
This has all happened despite the centre of midfield being perhaps the most hotly-conteste. position in the starting eleven. The season kicked off with Moritz Leitner and Alex Tettey looking like they had the two slots pretty much to themselves. When Leitner got injured, Mario Vrancic took up the baton with enough aplomb to score seven times and pick up an EFL player of the month award.
But since the Ipswich home game, Trybull and Kenny McLean have been the ultimate beneficiaries of Farke's policy of keeping faith with whoever has the shirt as long as they are doing the business and the two of them now look like virtual certainties to see us into the final straight.
Behind every great man is a great woman they say. If you follow Mrs Trybull on Instagram you may agree. But it is even more certain behind every team that plays the sort of football that we have been fortunate enough to see this season is a player like grafter doing the dirty work. In 31 years as a season ticket holder I've never seen a team like this season's. I wouldn't begrudge a single player the Barry Butler Trophy. But if there's one man who typifies all that is right about our club, I think that this is him.
On and on.....
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