David Wagner made one revelation nobody was expecting when he walked into the press lounge at Carrow Road on Saturday.

It was no surprise to anyone that he was asked about Christian Fassnacht following Norwich City's 1-0 win over Stoke at Carrow Road. The Swiss had forged a top-level partnership with goalscorer Jack Stacey on the right side, and oozed quality at both ends of the pitch.

Neither was it shocking to hear Wagner eulogise about the 29-year-old, praising all facets of his game. "From my point of view this was Fassi's best performance for us today," he said. "Defensively he used every situation to go for the challenge.

"Offensively he very often picked the right pass. He was a little bit unlucky not to score today, but the workload he showed was great as well."

The duality of Fassnacht's performance highlighted why he's been brought to Carrow Road, and what Wagner saw in a footballer he's loved since their time together at Young Boys started in 2021.

The Pink Un: David Wagner was key in signing Fassnacht.David Wagner was key in signing Fassnacht. (Image: Daniel Hambury/Focus Images Ltd)

The unconventional wide man encapsulates the German's approach perfectly; unconventional at first glance, but quietly effective and surprisingly entertaining to watch. Wagner is the sort of coach who will always praise work ethic first, but Fassnacht's technical quality is a key part of his game.

What was a shock in that post-match press call was the City boss' assessment that his number 16 "showed a poor Rotherham game" prior to the international break.

Few who saw that performance, in which the winger scored and was one of few Norwich players to display any real quality, would have come to the same conclusion. But that's testament to the standards Wagner expects of his idiosyncratic charge. 

Those expectations were what tempted Norwich into parting with more than £1million for Fassnacht, in their only senior transfer fee of the summer.

Even in the context of that net positive transfer window, that purchase from the Swiss champions is in bargain territory to the tune of Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki. 

The comparisons with Stuart Webber's first wave of signings as City sporting director have already been made, but there's no getting away from the similarities between Fassnacht and some of the stars of yesteryear.

The awkwardness with which he produces magic moments is reminiscent of Marco Stiepermann, his predatory instincts like Jordan Rhodes'. Even Alex Tettey would be proud of the physicality behind his challenges.

But this Norwich group are not intent on reliving past glories, rather creating new heroes and leaving their stamp on NR1.

Fassnacht has already become a key part of Wagner's attempts to do that, and is increasingly being recognised by supporters for his role in a vital fast start for the Norfolk club.

Adaptation may be required when that recognition comes from opposition sides, but his rapid adjustment to Championship life provides comfort on that front.

Of course, competition will come internally before long, with fellow summer signing Borja Sainz back in team training as of the international break. The Spaniard is moulded differently to Fassnacht, but has already been described as a man ideal for Wagner's football.

There remains no player more intrinsically linked to the transformation at Carrow Road than the former Thun midfielder, however.

After the departures of Kieran Dowell, Marquinhos, Christos Tzolis and Milot Rashica, City needed someone to step up creatively. Fassnacht has been that catalyst, along with fellow flanker Jonathan Rowe on the left.

His presence has proven traditional ideals of creativity narrow-minded, as did the gangly Stiepermann five years ago. But Wagner knew what he was getting, and was wise to back the new addition when question marks were raised over his lack of experience in the English game.

In a team now littered with secret weapons, Fassnacht may well be the most effective of them all.