Josh Sargent has worked hard to remain a regular starter following Dean Smith’s arrival at Norwich City and Friday’s Man of the Match performance was a well-earned reward for the American, who saw his perseverance rewarded after some frustrating struggles.
Sargent scored a pair of goals on Friday at Vicarage Road in Norwich City’s 3-0 win against Watford, helping the Canaries move out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. The goals were Sargent’s first in Premier League play and they were his first goals for Norwich City since a lopsided Carabao Cup win over Bournemouth in August 2021.
The U.S. men’s national team forward delivered an impressive pair of finishes on Friday night, once again playing on the right wing of Smith’s 4-4-2 formation. After showing positive moments in back-to-back victories, Sargent is reaping the rewards of his hard work for the club.
“I’m really pleased for him,” Smith said about Sargent in his postmatch interview. “It endears him to the supporters, they were singing his name. It’s been coming, he’s not playing in probably his favored position. But his work ethic is tremendous and his physicality helps us.
“We’ve sacrificed a man in midfield at the moment because we feel it’s worth it,” Smith added. “In other games we might have to change that. But delighted for Sarge. He had a newborn the other week so I’m sure he’ll dedicate the goals to his family.”
Sargent’s first goal came off a bit of improvisation from the forward as he reached behind himself and flicked a pass from Teemu Pukki off the crossbar and in. It was the first of three second-half goals from Norwich City, with Sargent sending a determined header into the bottom corner of Daniel Bachmann’s net later in the half.
The 21-year-old played the hero on Friday night in another positive result for the Canaries, which have momentum on their side heading into the next stretch of matches. Sargent has continued to fight for opportunities in front of goal and although wasn’t included in the upcoming World Cup Qualifiying schedule with the USMNT, will be confident in adding to his tally later this winter.
“It’s huge for us,” Sargent said. “Getting two wins in a row is massive for the guys and the confidence. Hopefully we can take that into the next games. To get the first goal and put the game away with the second and third showed our character that we kept wanting to push on and I’m proud of the boys tonight.
“It’s about time for us to be clinical tonight, hopefully we can continue that in the next games,” Sargent added.
Norwich City travels to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Feb. 5 before back-to-back home league matches against Crystal Palace and Manchester City.