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Norwich City column: Kenny McLean rightly recognised after helping David Wagner’s side to brink of Sky Bet Championship play-offs

Seldomly has there been a player more deserving of the Barry Butler memorial trophy than Kenny McLean.

The 32-year-old picked up the accolade prior to last Saturday's 2-2 draw with Swansea – recognition for another remarkably consistent season in yellow and green.

McLean may not write the headlines in the same way as his contemporaries, but this year in particular, his importance has been unrivalled.

Edward Seaman believes Kenny McLean was a worthy winner of the Barry Butler memorial trophy.
Edward Seaman believes Kenny McLean was a worthy winner of the Barry Butler memorial trophy.

He has led the team with great professionalism in the absence of Grant Hanley, especially in those difficult months of the campaign.

When things were heading rapidly out of control, no-one stood up and was counted quite as much as Kenny – he really was the glue that held things together.

But that’s not to say his performances haven’t also been standout. The success of his period at centre back – at a time when we were leaking goals for fun – has been well documented. More recently, his tenacity, energy and willingness to do the hard graft in midfield have provided the foundations for the likes of Gabriel Sara to flourish.

Simply put, Norwich City would not find themselves on the brink of the play-offs without Kenny. But heading into the final game of the season at Birmingham, that is where we are.

Mathematically the job is not done, but it would take a surreal turn of events for David Wagner’s side to miss out on the top six and a shot at the Premier League.

While sadly it would relegate the Blues, it feels important that we go to St Andrews and pick up three points – to consolidate fifth place and build some momentum after back-to-back draws at Carrow Road.

I would like to see Jonathan Rowe handed a start, to build up his match fitness ahead of the play-offs. It is to be excepted after a long injury lay-off, but I thought Rowe looked off the pace in his cameo against the Swans. With big games on the horizon, he is certainly a player we need firing on all cylinders.

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