11/12 Review: 3. Adam Drury
On Tuesday night, thousands filled Carrow Road in the name of Adam Drury, who joined Norwich just over 11 years ago; in that time he has enjoyed the success of two championships and a runners up medal, the captaincy and the Barry Butler. This season Drury remained in the City squad as the only surviving member of the last Premier League campaign, but with the continued presence of Marc Tierney, most wondered how much of a role he’d actually play.
Drury started the season as back up Tierney who had never lost his place after coming in for Drury during the latter half of last season. It wasn’t until 27th December, at home to Spurs, that he got his first league opportunity; despite little playing time in the past year, Drury stepped up to the plate and dealt with promising and eventual winner of the PFA young player of the year, Kyle Walker. This first top flight appearance since 2005 for Adam Drury was the first of 12 as he went on to continue his defensive solidity when called upon.
His first month back in the first team gave him slightly limited appearances, as Kyle Naughton was often rotated in at left back. Against QPR he kept Mackie at bay for 45 minutes before having to deal with the pace of Shaun Wright-Phillips, another test of his defensive ability as many would have questioned whether, at 33, he’d have the pace and ability to handle it. Experience proved vital for the left back, described by former team mate Darren Huckerby as one of the best pure defenders he’s ever played with, and while he was never given an easy ride, he handled never let the side down.
After missing out in the 3-0 loss away at Sunderland, Drury then played in the victories over Bolton and Swansea which gave Norwich six points, helping put any relegation worries well behind them and set up a run in with less pressure than the last top flight campaign. Drury had to put in a decent shift against both Bolton and Swansea, as the pace and trickery of Chris Eagles and Nathan Dyer were key for Bolton and the Swans respectively, and Bolton were well and truly nullified as Norwich picked up one of only three clean sheets in the league this season against them. Worth remembering in this game how he spent most of the game at centre-back with Russell Martin as we struggled with injuries, but he was as good as ever.
Against Manchester United he again showed his experience, ability and one-on-one talent, coming up against Nani. It was never going to be an easy game for him, but it was another top performance from a man putting all doubts to rest. He might not have the legs he used to, but he had the experience and the will – and he made it work. He carried that into games against Newcastle, a second appearance against Spurs, one against Everton and eventual champions Manchester City, before picking up an injury against Liverpool in late April.
He has also proven to be an asset in attack at times. Newcastle away is the game that highlights this the most; with Hatem Ben Arfa as the right winger, often drifting into the centre and rarely tracking back, Drury was given ample space to link up with Anthony Pilkington. Although this game was goalless for us, there was plenty of attacking promise, and with Drury and Pilkington having Morison to aim for, chances were to be had. Drury on more than one occasion linked up well with Pilkington or Surman to provide a threat down the left wing, getting balls into the box for either Holt or Morison, Drury even managed a shot in one game. Imagine – a shot. From Adam Drury!
Coming into the season, he probably knew he’d be back up, but he was needed and when called upon he provided a very steady option in defence that was never settled. He was always reliable and I’m sure helped keep a few goals out of a somewhat leaky defence. His fine service to this club was rewarded with a testimonial game versus Celtic, an incredible night that all fans, players and family will forever remember, and after yet another season of solid defending it’s a fitting tribute. Though we are yet to hear whether or not he’ll be rewarded with a new contract, based on his 16 appearances, he probably deserves it and will be a more than worthy back up player next season in the Premier League.