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6 goals, 17 assists – Norwich’s 27-year-old star could be the X-factor in their hunt for automatic promotion

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Philip Heise

Why signing Philip Heise was the right move by Norwich City

Norwich City completed the signing of defender Philip Heise from German second-tier outfit Dynamo Dresden on the January window transfer deadline day. The 27-year-old has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with the Canaries. (h/t BBC Sport)

Daniel Farke’s side are chasing promotion back to the Premier League and find themselves sitting in the second place in the Championship standings, with 57 points from 30 matches (W16, D9, L5). The Canaries are currently leading the table and are one of the favourites to automatically qualify to play top-flight football next season.

Manager Farke has done a sensational job with a squad that boasts a good mix of youth and experience. However, in order to sustain their bid for promotion over the second half of the season, a new signing at the left-back slot was something that the club needed, considering that they had young Jamal Lewis as the only option for that spot.

The 21-year-old has done an excellent job so far, featuring in 25 Championship outings. His progress has made a strong impression within the club and they rewarded him with a new contract in October last year.

But, there were very few options at the manager’s disposal should Lewis succumb to an injury in the near future. Or his lack of experience could have led to difficult moments in the business end of the season.

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In securing Heise’s signing, Norwich have addressed both the issues head-on. The 27-year-old started out with the youth setup of Bayer Leverkusen and spent time at Fortuna Dusseldorf, Borussia Monchengladbach, Münster, Heidenheim and VfB Stuttgart before he joined Dynamo Dresden in the winter window of 2017.

Since moving to the Bundesliga Two outfit, the German left-back has gone on to accumulate 61 appearances, scoring six goals and setting up 17 more. In the ongoing campaign, Heise had featured 16 times across all competitions for the Dresden-based outfit. The 27-year-old brings defensive solidity to the table, along with the threat he poses going forward on the overlap.

His ability to hit accurate crosses into the box from the left-hand side would add another dimension to Norwich’s wing play, considering that the likes of Onel Hernandez and Todd Cantwell, who have been playing on the left flank, prefer to cut inside. That is one area that Lewis has been found wanting a bit this season and Heise’s arrival should go on to address that.

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Moreover, the latter is vastly experienced and has been a part of a promotion winning side on two occasions in the past – winning the second division title with Stuttgart in 2016/17 and the third division title with FC Heidenheim in 2013/14. That experience and know-how should come in very handy for Norwich as they look to return to the Premier League.

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