Unfortunately for Dimitris Giannoulis, he's spent the majority of this season as part of the problem he was brought to Norwich City to solve.

When Xavi Quintilla's mysterious injury and Sam McCallum's immaturity at Championship level conspired to leave just right-footed midfielder Jacob Sorensen as a left-back option, the task was clear for Stuart Webber in January 2021.

His job was to find a left-back to relieve their injury crisis, with the requisite technical quality to thrive in a Daniel Farke system. On that occasion Giannoulis fit the bill fantastically, his dynamism and ability clear as he became an instant starter. In his second Championship campaign, he's come to characterise a similar injury crisis to the one he arrived to solve.

The Pink Un: Giannoulis' injury against Wigan Athletic meant he missed 12 Championship games.Giannoulis' injury against Wigan Athletic meant he missed 12 Championship games. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Even during the Cardiff City defeat, his only league game this term before being injured, he was frustrated by a wildly overhit cross that could have found Teemu Pukki for a tap-in but instead epitomised a fruitless afternoon for the Canaries.

In the following draw with Wigan Athletic, yet another impotent affair for Dean Smith's side, Giannoulis was withdrawn after 60 minutes with an ankle injury. Anyone inside Carrow Road on that day will remember the signs of serious damage: the loud shout as he went down, the urgency with which then-Latics boss Leam Richardson ushered play to a halt and the time spent tending to Giannoulis.

Any witness to that uncomfortable few minutes will actually have been surprised by the relative brevity of the resulting time out, even when the Greek did miss 12 Championship games.

What was perhaps more harrowing for City fans was the consequential lack of balance, with McCallum's injury three days later meaning no career left-backs remained once again.

The sturdy Sam Byram filled in reliably in their absence, but the difference between a system reliant on creativity from a crossing left footer to one forced through the middle by their lopsided setup was clear.

Giannoulis may not have been the most essential player in City's comfortable rise two years ago, but his qualities are surely the least easily replicated by his understudies. Barring Emi Buendia, that is.

Sam McCallum's solidity has been forefront in his performances since his team-mates second injury of the campaign, but the in-possession quality possessed by the number 30 isn't yet matched by him.

Perhaps in a Smith side those qualities possessed by McCallum and Byram are the more desirable traits, but that won't be good news for any Norwich fans hoping for a return of the "beautiful football" they once consumed in NR1.

The Pink Un: Giannoulis can be a key man for City in the second half of the season.Giannoulis can be a key man for City in the second half of the season. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Instead they'll hope 'Mr. No Breaks' can become a key player once again, for that would signify a return to the style of play they've been deprived of for so long.

Giannoulis cynics will point to his undeniable weaknesses defensively, but a team routinely pegging opposition back even at their worst shouldn't be left needing four strong defenders and the increasingly impressive Isaac Hayden to halt counter punches.

In any case, the benfits of a defender averaging nearly a shot assist and more than one progressive run per game are clear to anyone. Especially in the absence of Max Aarons' now-curbed enthusiasm for driving runs forward, the 27-year-old offers City a dynamic they're crying out for while they struggle for creativity.

Similarly to a number of his team-mates, Giannoulis hasn't had the start to the season he would have hoped for, but his potential to turn things around in time for a promotion charge is undeniable.

In a similar way to his right-side team-mate, however, his success relies upon Smith allowing him the freedom with which he thrives. Whether that happens remains to be seen but, much as he did this time two years ago, Giannoulis can be part of the answer to a huge problem for Norwich.