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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

For Fulham losing this Shane Duffy may turn out to be a remorse, not a regret

By Alessandro Schiavone from Fritz Walter Stadion, Kaiserslautern


1 FC KAISERSLAUTERN 0 – 0 NORWICH CITY



Unwanted former Fulham misfit Shane Duffy played a blinder as Norwich shared the spoils with 1.FC Kaiserslautern in a drab goalless draw on the hallowed Fritz-Walter Stadion turf on Saturday afternoon.


Whether it was his timing, stamina, defensive acumen or vital interceptions, if his impressive first-half display was anything to go by it will have focused minds across West London and East Anglia.


In fact it raised questions about his inability to nail down a regular first-choice berth, let alone start a single league game while on loan at Craven Cottage last term.


For a newly-promoted side trying to shake off their yo-yo tag, Fulham shipped a respectable 53 goals in 38 Premier League outings. Only on three occasions, against Newcastle United and West Ham in the league and Manchester United in the FA Cup did Bernd Leno have to fish the ball out of the net three times or more.


Yet Duffy played no part in their surprising resilience and maiden top-flight survival since 2013 as Tim Ream and Issa Diop gave Marco Silva no reason to rotate his team.


Yet when all is said and done, was the towering Irishman really not worthy of more than 17 minutes of Premier League football across a nine-month campaign?


Playing alongside Omobamidele in David Wagner’s back-four in Germany, he was unerring in the first 45 minutes before he was taken off to ensure Ben Gibson put some fuel in the engine ahead of the Championship curtain-raiser on 5 August against Hull City.


An imperious presence at the back, Duffy rolled back the Brighton & Hove Albion years, putting his body on the line and winning his aerial battles against Kaiserslautern’s Lex Tyger Lobinger and Kenny Prince Redondo. On one occasion he even put his laces through the ball after progressing up the pitch, smashing a potent effort just north of Andreas Luthe’s goal. All in all, he laid down the law to Kaiserslautern’s forward men. helping the Canaries take the wind out of the their sails and register a clean sheet.


With hindsight not even getting the chance to express himself in a bid to show what he could do was a harsh blow for the proud Irishman during his unhappy London spell.


Barring a short stint at Burnley at the age of 19, it was the first time in over a decade that he featured so little.


Surprisingly he had to take a place on the bench 25 times in the Premier League all while being axed six times altogether from the matchday squad. Thus writing him off as a flop would be an exaggeration as Fulham supporters only got to see him for less than 20 minutes. And that's hardly enough time to get a pint at half-time during a game, let alone to show what you're made of.


But don’t expect his confidence to be shattered just yet. Or Duffy refusing to have another crack at the Premier League with the Canaries in future.


And with a three-year deal in place he has enough time to reappear in England's top division through the front door.


Maybe he wasn’t Marco Silva’s cup of tea but he can still do a job in the Championship through his experience, tactical cleverness and robust defending.


Once the glue that held the Seagulls’ defence together alongside Dunk, Burn and Webster the 31-year-old is looking to bounce back at Carrow Road, in a slower-paced and more physical division like the Championship.


Last but not least he'll be itching to show everyone that he could have hacked it in SW6 too.


And if he does just that at Carrow Road, with Ream not getting any younger, it may come back to bite the Cottagers at some point.


1FCK


1 Luthe- 2 Tomiak-5 Kraus- 11 Redondo- 15 Puchacz- 16 Niehues- 20 Raschl- 23 Hercher-27 Lobinger-33 Elvedi- 37 Durm


Norwich City

1 Gunn- 4 Omobamidele- 8 Gibbs- 11 Idah- 12 Mumba- 20 Placheta- 23 McLean- 24 Shane Duffy- 27 Rowe-30 Giannuolis

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