Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe. Yes, that was spelt correctly. The Belgian international has been barely seen playing for the Canaries, why? Well, his injury does take up a fair part of the matter but also he hasn’t featured much under Alex Neil. Here are my thoughts on why No. 32 should be given a chance.
Vadis suffered medial knee ligament damage in City’s 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in October 2014. Brought into the club by Neil Adams, fans were excited to see the 26-year old star for the Canaries. Little did they know the injury in the match consequently ruled the midfielder out for the remainder of the season.
At his previous team, Club Brugge, Vadis made 165 appearances in his five years at the Belgian side, scoring 21 goals. Vadis was a big contribution to Brugge’s European success and was recognised internationally as he gained his first appearance for the Belgium senior side. Impressive on paper.
Odjidja made his first start for Norwich against Wednesday after impressing coming off the bench in the game against Leeds United at Carrow Road. He controlled the centre midfield, despite suffering his injury. Vadis returned to the squad in the last couple of months into the season, under a new manager, nonetheless made one substitute appearance on the last day of the Championship season.
Ahead of the 2015/2016 Premier League campaign, Odjidja played in most of City’s friendlies. Odjidja’s first real test in a Norwich shirt was when he came off the bench in City’s defeat to Israeli side Maccabi Haifa. He looked calm on the ball and was very controlling. His strength is his main attribute, and that is key for a central midfielder. City fans were impressed with his showing.
Vadis featured again for the Canaries in the defeat to fellow Premier League side, West Ham. He played the full 90 and definitely raised a few eyebrows amongst the City fans. For me, he held up the ball really well, made chances and looked dominant in the park. Despite not seeing anything of him last season, Vadis is a player I like. He’s strong and can definitely put up a battle in the middle of the field, as well as his passing being immaculate. He was a fan favourite at Club Brugge for particularly what I just mentioned.
I wanted your thoughts on whether Odjidja-Ofoe should be given a chance this season. Read Norwich tweeted out for your opinions and here are your thoughts.
@ReadNorwich I’m amazed he’s not been included yet.Looks a attacking threat!
— Adrian V.Berrywinkel (@canary0791) August 18, 2015
@ReadNorwich haven’t seen him enough to gauge any kind of opinion he’s only been bit part or injured thus far.
— Västerås Canary (@BigDollarRich) August 18, 2015
@ReadNorwich If he’s played centrally, absolutely. The issue is that he doesn’t seem capable of playing wide like Howson/Dorrans etc
— Dex (@DexterLevick) August 18, 2015
From some of the responses, it’s clear that most fans woud like to see Odjidja have some sort of role in City’s season. But where will he fit? Norwich have numerous players for the central midfield role and as much as I would like him too, I can’t see him replacing anybody from our midfielders. POTS Bradley Johnson, Alex Tettey, Jonny Howson have all cemented their places in Alex Neil’s squad. Odjidja will be primarily played for the U21’s and in Cup squads. If Vadis needs to breakthrough to the squad, those are his opportunites to show Alex Neil he’s worth it.
Another possibilty for Vadis is to have a period out on loan. Loans caan benefit a huge amount for players’ rejuvenation into first team football at their parent club. A spell away for Vadis at a Championship club or maybe a foreign side can give him first team football opportunites again and get him playing at the best of his ability, and mark a statement to Alex Neil. In my opinion, if Vadis wishes for a loan away, let it be but if he is loaned out then I think after his return we should be prepared to make a decision whether he is good enough for the first team or ultimately he should be sold.
In conclusion, should he be given a chance? I think so. Whether this takes a loan spell or impressive performance, I think Odjidja-Ofoe shows enough quality to have a place in City’s squad. My worry is who does that mean will be dropped. If Alex Neil finds out his strongest side it’ll be hard for any player who is not in that squad to try and force a way in. But for Odjidja, he has enough qualities and is worth a place.