Who's better value: Holt or Torres?

Norwich's £400k striker is proving he can hold his own with the multimillion pound men

Comparisons may be odious but sometimes they are irresistible, and 12.45pm at Carrow Road today is surely one of those times. On one side will be Fernando Torres, the former Atletico Madrid and Liverpool striker for whom Chelsea paid £50m, who has scored two Premier League goals in 16 appearances this season. On the other will be Grant Holt, the former Barrow and Shrewsbury forward for whom Norwich paid £400,000, who has scored seven in 20.

Unfair? To Holt and to his team-mates, definitely. The Cumbrian's return for the Canaries is impressive, but if there is one thing the Premier League considers it has learned about Norwich this season it is that the whole is greater than the sum of their parts. Less readily acknowledged seems to be the fact that those individual parts are of a considerably higher quality than many people were prepared to admit.

Holt is a pretty good example. Given the quality of the goals he has scored and the assists he has provided this season, one of these days people might stop referring to him as "old-fashioned". Not many who were at The Hawthorns last Saturday to see him sprint down the left wing before curling in a perfect cross for Steve Morison to head home City's second-half winner against West Bromwich Albion would continue to place him in that category.

"Well, I'm certainly old, but I know what you're getting at," the 30-year-old smiles, a little wryly. "A lot of people have put me in a bracket where they think all you get from me is, 'Stick it up in the air and Grant Holt will knock it about.' I think people are slowly starting to realise I'm much more than that really. Those who saw my turn of pace down that left wing last week... it took a few people by surprise."

As he quickly points out, however, hoping he has been value for money is not the same as saying he has been better value for money than Torres.

"You're only worth what someone wants to pay for you, so if someone wants to pay £50m for him that's what he's worth, and someone pays 400 grand for me, that's what I'm worth. Actually, with the club just having been relegated into League One [in July 2009] I was a big investment, but I'm hoping they think I've been good value for that.

"Of course I'm happy I've got more goals than him, but I've got more goals than a few. I'm not going to get drawn into that [comparing my record with Torres], because if he wants to he can bring his World Cup winner's medal to the table. I'd have that."

Of rather more interest to Holt is why and how he and Norwich continue to out-perform expectations this season, so much so that even those pessimists who cite Blackpool's late collapse last season have begun to go quiet. As their manager, Paul Lambert, said yesterday, Norwich could still undergo a similar slide – but it has to be accepted that the two clubs are very different animals.

For Holt, Lambert is one of the reasons why. Like his players, the Scot has learned with every game, and in terms of tactics and systems has made City into arguably the most flexible side in the division.

"The thing we've got at the minute is I don't think any opposing manager knows what team we'll be putting out until the team-sheet goes in, and when you do that it's very difficult for the opposition to work on through the week on the basis we will come with a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2, because they just never know," said Holt.

"Against Chelsea, we ourselves won't know who is starting until the morning of the game. From Monday to Friday you train on the basis you're going to play, so that whichever formation he goes with you're ready for the challenge. It gives you that belief that if your name is written up there, he knows you are ready for that game, and that's what he's going with."

It helps, says Holt, that Lambert clearly trusts in the ability of every member of the squad.

"A lot of lads travel [to away games], he keeps the squad really tight-knit, that's the way we've done it for the last two years now and it's worked. But it doesn't matter whether you play five minutes or 90 with the gaffer, he expects the same level of performance.

"When he tells you something you listen, and if you don't listen you're out. He doesn't need to say anything to me – he knows, and I know, what he expects from me, and when he puts me in the team he knows what he's going to get, and if I drop from that he'll be the first to jump up and tell me."

At the same time, he says, it has helped that Norwich's players have learned what to expect from each other. "I think that's what has started to happen over the last six or seven weeks – everyone knows what Anthony Pilkington is going to do, that if Elliott Bennett gets the ball wide he's going to put it in. I know if I get the ball wide Stevie [Morison] will be at the back stick."

The likelihood is that whatever formation Lambert decides is likeliest to confuse Andre Villas-Boas, at some stage in the afternoon Holt and Morison will be matched against John Terry and Gary Cahill. "You want to test yourself against the best, and when you look at them two they won't be far off being England's two centre-halves this summer," said Holt. "We played against Cahill at Bolton and 'Moro' gave him a good game, and I gave John a good game at Chelsea, It'll be a good battle."

Rather better than many people predicted, in fact.

Suggested Topics
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape