New Norwich City signings Mitchell Dijks and Yanic Wildschut proved an entertaining duo when they met the media for the first time last week following their deadline day signings.
They may be imposing figures, with both standing comfortably over six-foot tall, but the new Norwich boys look set to charm City fans – in much the same way as the Portuguese pairing of Nelson Oliveira and Ivo Pinto.
A product of AFC Ajax’s academy, Amsterdam-born Wildschut’s arrival from Wigan Athletic, for around €8m, is slightly different to that of his compatriot though. The 25-year-old winger has already been in England for over two years and knows the rigours of the English Football League already, but Dijks is breaking new ground.
The 23-year-old Netherlands U21 international left-back from Purmerend had initially turned down a permanent move from the Amsterdam ArenA to Norwich in the hope of a top-flight move but was eventually persuaded to sign on loan for the remainder of the season by manager Alex Neil.
“I spoke with the gaffer here and he is a great guy, I had a good feeling,” Dijks began, before turning to his new left-sided partner to help with translation. Wildschut took over, saying: “It was a big step for him, his first time abroad and he needed the time to see how it goes before he makes the move.
“He said the feeling was really good in the beginning but it was the same big decision that I took two-and-a-half years ago, so he’s happy to be here and that’s why he choose to come on loan and if everything goes well he would like to stay at the club.”
Dijks added: “But I am also a family man, my mother, my sister, that’s why I’m here at first for four months and then we’ll see.” Both said they were fit to face Cardiff at the weekend, before Wildschut used his knowledge of Dijks’ game to tell City supporters what they can expect. “Mitchell is strong, big, powerful and he is tall but he is good with his feet as well, that is a big reason that clubs like him, because he likes to go forward as well,” said Wildschut, who played with Dijks at Heerenveen during 2013-14. “He is hard to beat and he can beat his man as well, so I think it will be difficult for opponents to deal with him.”
The Dutchmen made their debuts for their new club in the Canaries’ 1-0 victory at the Cardiff City Stadium. Dijks replaced Robbie Brady at left-back, following the Irishman’s €14m switch to Burnley, and Wildschut started on the left wing due to Steven Naismith’s hamstring strain – with match-winner Cameron Jerome starting up front despite Nelson Oliveira’s return from suspension.
Neil commented on their performance after the game. “I thought Mitchell Dijks was fantastic. For his first game in English football, he was tremendous. He’s a beast. For a lad who’s come from Holland and not played in the Championship, which can be an acquired taste, I was delighted for him. He dominated that left side. Yanic showed flashes of what he’s capable of, but I think it was a difficult game for wide players.”
Both players will be spending this week getting to know their new team-mates better with consecutive home games against Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United to look forward to at a packed Carrow Road stadium. Before that however, Wildschut faces an early return to the DW Stadium as Norwich City face Wigan Athletic on Tuesday evening looking to make it four consecutive Championship victories to continue their recent revival.