Belfast Telegraph

Van Wolfswinkel rescues Canaries

Ricky van Wolfswinkel delivered the debut that Norwich manager Chris Hughton wanted from his new club-record signing as his second-half header secured a 2-2 draw with Everton in their Barclays Premier League opener at Carrow Road.

After a first half of few opportunities the game burst in to life six minutes after the interval when Norwich took the lead against the run of play when Steven Whittaker reacted quickest to convert the rebound from his initial shot.

Everton's players were determined to register a victory in Roberto Martinez's first game in charge and scored twice in four minutes to turn the game on its head.

First teenage midfielder Ross Barkley lashed home before Seamus Coleman tapped in following a smart John Ruddy save from a Nikica Jelavic shot.

But the visitors could not hold on as Norwich's £8.5million summer signing Van Wolfswinkel rose to head home a wayward Whittaker strike to secure a share of the spoils.

"He's certainly done today what we wanted him to do," Hughton said.

"That's about working hard for the team. He certainly gave us a good outlet up front. He's a willing runner up front and I'm really pleased for him. It was certainly a nice feeling to get a goal on his debut.

"He is someone that is used to scoring goals. The challenge now is to do it at the top level."

The former Sporting Lisbon frontman was one of two debutants in the Norwich side, with winger Nathan Redmond also making his bow fresh from scoring for England's Under-21s in midweek.

Redmond was lively throughout for the hosts and Hughton reckons he will take a lot of experience from his display as he looks to develop in to a top-class player.

"He will continue to go through a learning curve," he said.

"He was tested defensively against a full-back that played like a right winger. He'll learn an awful lot in a short period of time. He has an ability. We've got to make sure we harness that."

Barkley was undoubtedly Everton's best player as he put in an all-conquering performance.

Martinez enthused about Barkley's performance and revealed he was impressed with the England youngster's work ethic throughout pre-season

"We are very pleased with his overall contribution," the former Wigan boss said.

"Tactically he was outstanding. That was a very mature performance for a young man. I was very pleased with that because we've seen that in pre-season.

"You want to have as many players who can give you something special as you can. Ross has got that talent. I think we have a few throughout the squad. And that's important for competition.

"I'm pleased with the manner in which he wants to learn and to listen and wants to develop. To have a player with that ability at that age is an incredible asset for us."

Barkley's progression through the ranks at Goodison Park has stuttered in recent years due to a catalogue of injuries but Martinez believes his opening-day display proves he is prepared for an influential campaign.

"He's been at Everton for a long time and he's had his problems with injuries," Martinez added.

"I can only speak about his attitude and the way he looks after himself and the way he works in pre-season. I'm pleased he's been able to show everyone he's ready.

"That's what important about his play. He can understand what he needs to do to be effective off the ball. He wants to take information in and wants to understand. I thought he was perfect at it today."


From Belfast Telegraph