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Norwich City have made the right decision by appointing Dean Smith in bid to preserve Premier League status

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Dean Smith will be under no illusions as to the size of the task facing him at Norwich City. The former Aston Villa man has been announced as the club’s new head coach, inheriting a team five points from safety at the foot of the Premier League.

Admittedly, Smith wasn’t perhaps the ‘sexiest’ candidate to replace Daniel Farke, but for me he is the man best placed to help us pull off the great escape.

His CV speaks for itself. Success at Walsall and Brentford led to him taking over at his boyhood club Aston Villa – guiding them to – and keeping them in – the Premier League.

Norwich City columnist Ed Seaman is pleased with the appointment of Dean Smith
Norwich City columnist Ed Seaman is pleased with the appointment of Dean Smith

Last season was particularly impressive for Smith and Villa, notching 16 wins – including a remarkable 7-2 victory over Liverpool – on the way to amassing 55 points.

Critics will point to their struggles this season – with five defeats on the spin leading to his sacking – but life after Jack Grealish was always going to be difficult.

Smith labels himself as a head coach who likes to work with and improve players – and Grealish is the prime example of that.

It’s difficult not to draw comparisons with Todd Cantwell – and getting him firing again will be among Smith’s first priorities.

Having not featured since the Watford defeat back in September, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Cantwell must have had something of a falling out with Farke, but that is all in the past now.

Simply put, Cantwell’s flair and creativity has been missing during his time out of the side – and we can’t afford to have a player of his quality on the sidelines.

Due to the international break, Smith and his assistant Craig Shakespeare won’t have had a lot of time to work with his players before tomorrow’s visit of Southampton.

But if the 50-year-old can get his reign off to a winning start, it will bring us right back into contention heading into games against Wolves and Newcastle. Now more than ever, it’s time to get behind the boys.