Belfast Telegraph

Lambert: Howson is like Iniesta

Norwich manager Paul Lambert likened Jonny Howson to Barcelona maestro Andres Iniesta after watching the Canaries midfielder inspire his new team to a vital 2-2 draw with Everton at Carrow Road.

Howson signed for Norwich from npower Championship side Leeds in January and has had little trouble stepping up a division, easily slotting in to Lambert's starting XI. The 23-year-old opened his Canaries scoring account by slotting home a Wes Hoolahan cross.

Lambert, whose side reached the safety yardstick of 40 points with the point, said: "It was one of the best midfield performances I've ever seen. I couldn't pass it like him. At times he passed it like Iniesta. He's an all-rounder and I'm delighted with his contribution."

The game looked destined to be a drab affair in the opening quarter before it sprung to life when Nikica Jelavic poked Everton ahead with a majestic flick from close range. Both teams then embarked on some attacking play in an end-to-end encounter, with Jelavic cleverly turning home a second following Howson's equaliser.

Grant Holt continued to press his claims for an England call-up by converting Aaron Wilbraham's cross late on and Norwich were unlucky not to grab a winner in the dying minutes after throwing everything at the seventh-placed Toffees.

Lambert said: "It was a brilliant game, as good as I've seen in my time here. Considering the calibre of the team we were playing against, it was a brilliant display. It was relentless at times. We played with enthusiasm and hunger. We had a lot of the ball and we showed we have an end product to our game."

Jelavic's presence up front caused Norwich havoc throughout the game and his double will do much to boost confidence in the Merseysiders' ranks ahead of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

"Jelavic scored two really good goals," Everton boss David Moyes said.

"He's come in and made a big difference to us. We've been needing that type of centre-forward - somebody who can score, lead the line and threaten the opposition and he's certainly been doing that. He's a steely character with real presence and he sees scoring as part of his job.

"He also helps to link us up. He's given all the players a massive boost. That's what happens when you bring in a player who scores regularly. We couldn't score in the first half of the season but he makes us look as if we are going to do that more often."


From Belfast Telegraph