I was quite excited when I heard we had signed the Borussia Moenchengladbach captain, Havard Nordtveit. What was not to like? People don’t become captain of their side without having something about them. And he could play in a variety of positions. Just the sort of player we needed. Or so I thought.
In pre-season he looked totally out of sorts. As the season started he didn’t improve. Every performance was terrible. He looked hapless. What a turkey, we all thought. But there was a nagging doubt in my mind. He mainly played at right back and once or twice in central defence. But wasn’t he a central midfielder? Wasn’t that his preferred position? Clearly with Kouyate, Noble and Obiang playing well, he didn’t get a look in there. Until Saturday.
Against Everton I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was as if Nordtveit had become a different player. Cool, calm and tenacious. Spraying balls over the field. Running with the ball. Attacking. Shooting. He wasn’t far off being my man of the match. On that performance he deserves to keep his place and the chance to show us more of what he can do.
Mark Noble is under real pressure. Edimilson Fernandes, and now Nordtveit, have shown that there is real competition for the second central midfield space. And that is surely only a good thing.