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Norwich City: Danny Batth insight from the Sunderland Echo

Tell us a bit about Batth and how his time at Sunderland went.

After a little bit of time sort of getting his his feet under the table, Danny became a really integral part of Alex Neil’s Sunderland side, and by the end of the season and through the 2022 League One play-off campaign, he was a fixture in the XI. He was a hugely important player and had a big impact on the play-off campaign, and that just kind of blew through into the championship season really.

 I’m not sure how influential or how regular people expected Danny Batth to be last year but through a combination of his own performances and a lot of injuries he ended up playing the vast majority of games before he got an injury himself right at the end. He ended up being voted the supporters’ player of the season, which I think was testament to his consistency really, a hugely dependable performer.

There was never anything spectacular about his game, but he never really had a bad game either, so a lot of mixed emotions when he left.

After impressing so much on Tyneside, why did Sunderland allow him to leave on a free?

Just to be clear this isn’t my opinion, this is just trying to give you a background as to the start of this sequence of events, but I think moving into this season Batth was obviously entering the final year of his contract, and it started to become clear in pre-season that Sunderland were going to change that starting XI  a bit for the upcoming season.

So what we’ve seen in the early weeks of the season, even aside from the speculation over Batth’s future, was that Tony Mowbray has picked Luke O’Nien alongside Dan Ballard. He is a really athletic defender, he’s got a lot of pace, and is also very comfortable carrying the ball out from the back and playing those big switches.

There’s certainly the impression that they’ve looked to evolve their style and they’ve looked to adjust to the fact that this year there are much more quality sides and they need some new threats.

So they wanted to evolve the side, and I I think that left us in a situation where at this stage of his career Batth wanted a little bit more security in terms of his contract. He clearly wants to play, and so I think we reached a situation whereby Batth was essentially told by Sunderland that if he could find another option he was welcome to pursue it.

For most of the summer we thought that was going to be Blackburn and not Norwich, but I think Blackburn had their own sort of financial constraints and difficulties and ultimately they never got over the line.

If I’m a Norwich City fan I should I certainly wouldn’t be concerned at the fact that Sunderland let him go.

So what qualities can City fans expect to see from Batth in yellow and green?

What I would say is that Batth was a very, very strong Championship-level performer last year, and so if for whatever reason he was in the starting 11 next Saturday then I don’t think Norwich City fans should have any concerns about his performance level or his fitness.

He is a traditional centre back in that he is exceptional at making first contacts, particularly from defensive set-pieces. He is a really good organiser organiser, defends really well and is a huge presence in the dressing room. At Sunderland he was really influential, and really important in inserting, maintaining and driving those standards.

 It seems to me like pretty savvy business from Norwich. Obviously I’m not in that that bubble and I don’t have an understanding of what the team needs, but what I can say is that they’ve picked up someone who is proven to have performed to a very good level last year and was a huge presence off the pitch as well.

You can see our full discussion with Phil in the video below.

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