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Whitbread's Norwich City gains promotion to EPL

NorwichCelebrates (Reuters)

 

American defender Zak Whitbread could be the next U.S.-born player to make the climb from the League Championship to the Premier League after his club, Norwich City, earned promotion on Monday.

Norwich secured passage to the Premier League with a 1-0 victory against Portsmouth on a goal from Canadian national team striker Simeon Jackson. Whitbread played 90 minutes in the match for the club he joined as a free agent from Millwall a year ago.

Whitbread impressed enough during the season with Norwich City to earn a call-up to the U.S. national team for the team's March friendlies, but a back injury kept him from joining the team. Now, with his recent form for Norwich, Whitbread has to be considered a candidate to earn a place on the U.S. Gold Cup Team.

What do you think of Whitbread's team earning promotion? Excited to see another American heading to the Premier League? Hoping he makes the Gold Cup squad?

Share your thoughts below.

46 comments
  • Taylor

    yes, having a centerback in the prem will be great for us. when was the last time we had one who actually started for a premier league squad?

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  • timmytwoshoezzz

    great for Whitbread and Norwich. Hopefully Findley and Nottingham Forest can join them shortly!

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  • Travis

    I believe Onyewu did a couple of times when on loan at Newcastle a couple years back but I could be wrong. I know it didn’t go all that well

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  • jonk

    A year and a half ago I couldn’t believe he was transferring from one League One side to another rather than finding a club in the Championship…but after back to back promotions it appears he knew what he was doing.

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  • Jeremy

    I’m happy for him, but he’s already 27 so I don’t ever think he has a place beyond backup on the USMNT at one of our deeper positions.

    Congrats and good luck to him though, I hope he proves me wrong.

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  • Michael F.

    Great for Whitbread and Norwich. Anyone know
    if his contract is for longer then just this season?

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  • Matt

    i love him in contention now for a CB spot. demerit hasn’t been playing so whitbread can join goodson as backups to boca and gooch. with the quality of our group, i can see him getting capped too

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  • Pete

    American players are getting better and better reputations as footballers. Zac’s pretty typical as hardworking, athletic and not short of skill. As a Norwich fan, I’d certainly be happy to add to the US-born contingent at Carrow Road.

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  • Jeremy

    I think DeMerit is his biggest enemy right now.
    He’s definitely behind DeMerit, Boca, Gooch, Goodson, and Ream on the potential depth chart and has a couple young guys pushing too.

    I don’t have a problem saying he could turn out to be a great player, I just see him making much of an impact at his age as Ream, Boss, Kitchen and maybe Gonzalez will have improved a lot by the time the guys listed in the first paragraph hang up their cleats.

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  • timmytwoshoezzz

    Why is Gooch being given a CB spot? He’s not playing there for his club and he’s looked terrible in every game he’s played for the US in the last18 months. He sbhould be buried on the depth chart

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  • Louis Z

    many people here and within the USNT organization feels that he still can produce although it is all about reputation at this point, he hasn’t done anything significant since his injury.

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  • Dancy

    One of the US’s deeper positions? Other than defensive midfielder that can’t create much the US has no deep positions, unless you count over-hyped young offensive player that never pans out as a position. 27 is when many players should be entering their prime and thus should start getting national team looks. Just because the US gravitates to youth and promise over current level and form does not mean that a player needs to be in the system by 22 to be successful.

    Gooch is well passed it and was never that good except against one-dimensional aerial threats. Boca is also a bit long in the tooth, was slow to start with, and is getting slower. Goodson is constantly coming back from injuries. Plus all three are rather poor at distributing, not that Bob Bradley allows his backs to do anything but hoof it long or pass it 5 feet to a midfielder.

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  • malkin

    There always seems to be somebody in every thread saying “as a ::insert relevant team here:: fan, I…”, which often seems pretty coincidental on an “american voice” soccer blog.

    Not trying to call you out…just wondering if you’re a Norwich fan that drifted over to this site b/c of Whitbread or vice versa.

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  • malkin

    I mean, Fulham is my favorite EPL team b/c I’ve been watching them on tv and cheering Americans playing for them for years. But Norwich??

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  • timmytwoshoezzz

    you’re right, but my point is that Gooch should have to prove that he can produce, not be given a starting role because he was good back in 2008. Right now there are three CB’s in the player pool playing much better soccer than he is/has

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  • Supsam

    So i guess Bob Bradley plays Ream not for his passing skills from the back??? Bob Bradley haters at their best.

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  • vik

    wasn’t Whitbread brought up in England? I know he spent some time in the states, but I believe most of his youth career was in england. It might be why he differs from a “typical” US CB, wtv that means.

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  • justin

    I’m a norwich fan, after going to high school in east anglia, and I believe after watching norwich this past season whitbread is probably in the top 2 in the US national team pool in distributing from CB especially to the wings. And I would also say he’s better and strong than ream (who i mention because he is considered valuable because of his distributing skills) in the air.
    I predict him starting some games in the Gold Cup.

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  • RSLin208

    A backline of Dolo, Whitbread, Clark, Boca. That could be quality.

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  • GOOOOQUAKES

    Great for the Canaries!

    I’m sure Darren Huckerby is quite happy as well.

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  • Pete

    No problem. I was born Norfolk and now live in Melbourne AUS. After watching the game at 4.45am on Foxtel and pretty excited that my team, of which I used to be a season ticket holder, is back in the Premier League I was hungry for some good reading, but given the UK media were asleep, I was searching through twitter posts with NCFC in them and think I found my way to this article. Never been here before.

    I’m actually looking forward to not getting the question ‘so you do support a premier league team as well?’ whenever I say that I’m a Norwich supporter.

    Like

  • Turgid Jacobian

    Factually incorrect–at least at the level of teams making the world cup final. The average age in 2010 was 25-26, and the average number of players below 24 was 4-5 (of 23)

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  • Warren

    Assuming Whitbread stays with Norwich and is playing in EPL next season, that puts him into position as the CB playing at the highest level in the USMNT pool.

    Doesn’t make him an automatic starter for USMNT at Gold Cup but does put him into serious contention for playing time.

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  • Tim M.

    I agree with Dancy.

    I couldn’t imagine us winning the Gold Cup this summer with Gooch, Bocanegra or Demerit paired in the back, or potentially all three, especially if we play in anything but a 4-4-2.

    The best distributor out of the three is undoubtedly, Boca, otherwise Gooch and Demerit both hack the ball up the field without any real distribution quality.

    Gooch isn’t going to get much minutes for the rest of the season with Twente, unless theirs an injury, mainly because he can’t distribute (I read somewhere he’s training with mids to work on his distribution).

    How much better could he possibly get though? Demerit is showing his age already or just struggling to find form. Same for Boca.

    It’s not like Bob hasn’t given younger players a chance, but there’s a whole new generation of young defenders that certainly bring unique attributes to the backline of their own.

    I’d rate them as high as our regulars starters if not for their experience and chemistry with the rest of the team.

    In this order: Boca, Demerit, Gooch, Goodson, Ream, Spector, Borchers, Parkhurst, Marshall, Boswell, Gonzalez, Opara.

    Since George John and Zak Whitbread, untested, i’d rate them both between Ream and Borchers based solely on talent.

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  • Tim M.

    I agree, especially with the young ones, again

    In this order: Boca, Demerit, Gooch, Goodson, Ream, Spector, Borchers, Parkhurst, Marshall, Boswell, Gonzalez, Opara.

    Since George John and Zak Whitbread, untested, i’d rate them both between Ream and Borchers based solely on talent.

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  • Tim M.

    he was moved to the england in his early teens i believe to join liverpools academy.

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  • Tim M.

    I’ve forgotten about Clark.

    Hopefully more playing regularity in Germany will call him down a bit, so he can learn what an apropriate challenge is for a CB.

    Also, it’s good to have potentially three lefty CB’s in the pool now (Boca, Ream, Zak)

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  • CSD

    Matt Pickens should have stayed at QPR and he could have gotten promoted with a real club this year. The Canaries won’t last long in the EPL.

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  • CSD

    Most likely Norwich will be Champions of the Championship after QPR gets their point deduction. Then QPR could win the playoffs. QPR, Norwich and Cardiff would be a nice group to get promoted. Its about time a Welch club joins the party.

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  • GW

    The centerback position is the most unsettled on the team. There is no real set in stone, proven, starter.

    There are a lot of good young prospects coming up but you should not buy into all that hype. They are all a very long way from being “proven”. Centerback is not a position where you want to team two newbies (see DC United). If you look at the World Cup the best teams seemed to have an older guy teamed with a younger up and coming type( Puyol & Pique). Usually one was more physical and the other one was more mobile. Skill on the ball was a given.

    I love Jay D and Gooch but both clearly have health issues which exacerbate their limitations.

    The vets all have serious defects, with Goodson being probably the most stable ( and he is injury prone).

    Right now my starting centerbacks are Ream and Goodson and I don’t feel good about it. Whitbread might be the perfect “bridge guy”.

    Gonzales,Boss, Opara and Kitchen don’t belong in this conversation yet.

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  • DC Josh

    A US centerback starting in a top European league? I’ll take it. I hope he gets a call-up for the Gold Cup. I’d like to see him in a US kit and how he fits into our team.

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  • Charlie

    A wild thought for USMNT centerback – Jermaine Jones. Paired with Ream, like Rafa at NY RedBulls. As many have said, Jones will be getting on in soccer years for the next WC, but this assumes a holding mid position. Solid experience and great distribution.

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  • Myles B

    Jackson’s on a tear right now, just in time to take it to the Yanks in June!!!!

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  • Funny

    You know when people look at your name their eyes play a trick to read Chris The SLUT

    Like

  • malkin

    Well welcome to the SBI comments section, and I look cheering you guys on next season!

    Like

  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    Jones is too aggressive in style to play at CB.
    Secondly, but not less important, we can not underestimate the value from the ‘Boca-Gooch’ pairing on set plays.
    Boca, is as brave as they come, and Gooch’s physical presence allows him to carve out space. Only Goodson has similar qualities on the offensive side to use as a set piece target. Not Ream, not DeMerrit, not Spector; and Goodson’s build like Spectors does not lead one to have as much confidence that they’ll ever become a ‘force to be reckoned with’. Gonzales has a chance, but would need to ‘toughen up’.
    It’ll be interesting to follow the drop off in set-piece goals over the coming year(s). I don’t think we’ve given that aspect of the game anywhere near enough thought.

    Like

  • hoosh

    Anyone have a highlight of Jackson’s goal last night or in general? He seems to be a very prolific scorer and a promising bright spot for Canadian soccer.

    Like

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