Jacob Butterfield has finally completed his move away from Barnsley, with Norwich City winning the race for his signature. Here's what Canaries can expect from their new midfielder...
The long drawn out saga of Jacob Butterfield’s move away from Barnsley ended today as he signed a four year deal with Premier League side, Norwich City. After six months of speculation where suitors including Newcastle and Aston Villa battled for his signature, Norwich can be satisfied that they have pulled off a masterstroke in assuring Butterfield will be playing his football at Carrow Road next year.
The clamour to sign Jacob is made all the more remarkable as he is still two or three months away from recovering from a cruciate ligament injury sustained against Leeds United last Christmas. Some might think of a club signing a player who is still recuperating from such a serious injury would be taking a huge gamble, but in Jacob Butterfield Norwich are getting the exact type of technically proficient player pundits and experts have been saying there is a dearth of in English football.
Because he doesn’t have a weaker foot, defenders have difficulty guarding against him from shooting from distance.
Jacob is a rarity amongst English footballers in that he doesn’t even know himself which is his stronger foot. He is as adept with one as he is with the other and he possesses a great quality of passing in both. Because he doesn’t have a weaker foot, defenders have difficulty guarding against him from shooting from distance.
You just cannot allow him the space to shoot. The power he generates means that any shot on target presents a problem for the goalkeeper because the way he strikes it creates so much deviation. Even if he doesn’t score himself, second chances resulting from a keeper spilling the shot can be capitalised upon.
His awareness to take his first touch into space or away from his maker reminds me so much of Paul Gascoigne
It’s his ambidexterity that makes him such a threat from set piece situations because he can deliver dangerous in-swinging balls from both sides, be it a corner or free-kick from out wide.
Whilst he can play in a pair at the centre of a four man midfield, he is best used as the head of a three man midfield or a classic number ten role. He can find those positions in between the defensive lines and make himself available. It’s here where his game excels. His awareness to take his first touch into space or away from his maker reminds me so much of Paul Gascoigne in that whilst he is not gifted with lightening pace, he still has the ability to power past opponents with the ball.
His game flourished due to the influence he began to have on games and but for a bad tackle from Leeds United’s Michael Brown, his move to the Premier League would surely have come last January.
Prior to Keith Hill’s arrival as manager last season, Jacob had been in and out of the side and paid for his sporadic appearances, by producing fluctuating performances. He was used more as an impact player from the bench by Mark Robins but Hill soon made him central to his plans and gave the then 21 year old the captain’s armband. It was a bold move that proved to be the making of him as the responsibility of leading the team pushed up a work rate that had been his only downfall. His game flourished due to the influence he began to have on games and but for a bad tackle from Leeds United’s Michael Brown, his move to the Premier League would surely have come last January.
His rehab will continue over the coming weeks and providing it keeps going well, the Norwich fans can look forward to watching a player who has the potential to break into the England set up in the very near future.
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