Jon Rowe has been left picturing his Norwich City breakthrough for far too long - in August he got to experience the real thing. 

Few outside of Norfolk knew his name, let alone what he could offer - it has been a whirlwind month of awards, recognition and intoxicating levels of praise. 

But Rowe has taken it all in his stride. For so long, he has felt like this is where he belongs. After injury hurdles threatened to topple him, the winger is more grateful and hungry than ever. 

With the glamour of a breakthrough run comes potential distractions and ego-inflating possibilities, but Rowe is determined to prove that he isn't done yet. Under David Wagner, he has become a key player. Now he wants to become undroppable. 

The winger knows how quickly the bubble can burst in football. The game is constantly evolving and moves rapidly. Rowe wants to continue to experience the luxuries the last few months have provided. 

One of the key drivers behind his early season form has been the unwavering self-belief that helped him navigate the choppy waters of injury absence and constant setbacks. For Rowe, this rise hasn't come as a surprise but is the natural order of how his career was supposed to go. 

Despite the surrealism watching back the numerous goals, underpinning it has been the innate belief that this moment would arrive. 

"I look back on the goals sometimes and think ', Did that really happen? Is it really me?'," the City winger said.

"Without sounding too vain, I always knew my ability and knew that if I put in the hard work I could always be in the right position, and you have to believe that something will happen.

The Pink Un: Jon Rowe netted five times in as many games during the first month of the season.Jon Rowe netted five times in as many games during the first month of the season. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

"I try not to think too much; I think when you do that, that is when you mess up the chances. I'm taking the opportunities when they come.

"Confidence has a big part to play in that. I've managed to take them when they've come my way."

Rowe has spoken openly about the difficulties he endured dealing with a trio of injuries that prevented him from capitalising on a debut campaign during City's Premier League demise under Dean Smith in 2021/22. 

A stress fracture to his shin was followed by an ankle injury on a poor pitch during the club's trip to Tampa Bay last November. A return in a second under-21 match in February saw him tweak his hamstring. 

Reflecting after a blistering start to this campaign, Rowe believes those experiences taught him harsh lessons during the formative part of his career that, although challenging, will help his development in the long term. 

"It felt like I was in a nightmare. Off the back of the 2021/22 season, I was excited because I got a few minutes in the Premier League, and I was ready to make my breakthrough season. So I went a little bit too hard without resting," Rowe told Not the Top 20

"I was a bit immature in that sense and didn't look after my body as much or listen to it. During those moments, it could have gone either one of two ways - I could have stopped kicking ball or trying to come back, but something else was telling me that I have to realise my potential and get tested sometimes.

"I made a decision to get myself on my feet and come back. I came back towards the end of the season but the team wasn't at good. Mentally, it was tough but I've come through it.

The Pink Un: Jonathan Rowe made his first senior appearances for Norwich in the Premier League.Jonathan Rowe made his first senior appearances for Norwich in the Premier League. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

"I'm a Christian, so believing in God helped me believe I would come back right from all these trials."

Rowe's first senior minutes came under Smith in the Premier League in December 2021, but despite some promising cameos, he was never entrusted with a start despite pressure from his coaching team. 

That may have been different had Rowe been available in the Championship - but Wagner has been more willing to let him off the leash. 

The pair have developed a real bond that has led to Rowe feeling free to express himself. That was born from honest conversations after last season.  

"I knew the manager believed in me before the season even started," Rowe said. "From the conversations we had when I first met him, he told me about myself, and he had done his research.

"He has shown he has faith in me and it was up to me to show I was that player because I was injured.

"Towards the end of last season, we had a proper one-to-one conversation about having a clean slate for everyone going into the new season so I knew pre-season would be a time to earn the shirt.

"I am a competitive guy and I took that as a challenge - I did my thing in pre-season and made sure I got that shirt."

What has impressed is the range of goals that Rowe has scored. From headers to poacher-like strikes to a shots from distance on the opening day of the campaign against Hull - the youngster has shown a predatory instinct in the final third. 

The Pink Un: Jonathan Rowe and David Wagner have formed a special relationship.Jonathan Rowe and David Wagner have formed a special relationship. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

Wagner has been more pleased with the work around his eye-catching level of productivity. City's boss has praised his work rate and was told by members of his coaching team that he would become a prominent player in his side in the opening weeks of his rein. That has rung true. 

Rowe is striving to be unpredictable and have an edge in his game. That comes from being capable of mixing up his style of play. 

"We have a tactical set-up to give us an idea of how to play, and then it's up to us as footballers to figure it out.

"I like to be unpredictable. For those out to in runs, you have to make sure you mix it up and keep the defender guessing. You have to make sure he doesn't think 'okay, he's just going to get the ball to feet'.

"The fact that I have the gift to do both - run in behind and get the ball to feet, dribble and keep the ball - that allows me to thrive as I'm doing now," City's winger said.

"To me, it just seems like football. That is good football. People who know football will understand that - being unpredictable should be normalised."