Manager discusses progress of City's youngstersNEIL Adams says Jacob and Josh Murphy’s relentless upward curve in development comes as no surprise after they were recognised by their country once again.
Jacob is currently away with England’s Under-20s for a mini-tournament in the Netherlands after stepping into Aidy Boothroyd’s squad in place of his brother, who is resting a heel injury.
18 months on from the historic FA Youth Cup run in which they came to prominence, both have made appearances for Adams’ first-team this season – with Josh featuring in every matchday squad and netting his first league goal in the 3-1 win at Blackpool.
“They’ve matured into fine young men and very capable footballers,” said City’s manager.
“I’ve seen them ever since they first came into the club, when they were two young lads running around the pitch like wind-up toys.
“It was incredible when we first saw them, the enthusiasm they had. I think they came in when they were about 12 years old and some of the coaches had tears in their eyes looking at them because they just ran everywhere where the ball was, it was just brilliant!
“Pleasingly now they’re at a level, and Josh in particular because he’s in the team, where they can compete now comfortably.”
Fellow Youth Cup winners Kyle McFadden and Reece Hall-Johnson have also featured under their former Under-18s coach, making their senior debuts in the Capital One Cup game against Crawley Town at Carrow Road in August, while Cameron King came on as a substitute against Shrewsbury Town.
Adams has been delighted with the progress of that group since they lifted the trophy after beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in May last year.
“You’re looking at a team there that wins the FA Youth Cup and obviously at that point they’re all 18 years old or under, and you’re thinking about the next two years then. What can they achieve in the next two years?” he added.
“They’ve been in the gym a lot, they’re a lot bigger now. If you look at that Youth Cup team now, the size of them and the shape of them has changed.
“Obviously we’re pleased as an Academy and as a club at how we’ve managed Jacob and Josh and the rest of them too, who are also on similar lines.”
Josh Murphy has eight appearances and three goals already under his belt in 2014-15 and Adams confirmed he is now a firm part of his plans for every match.
“He’s a first-team squad player with the others. He’s been involved in every game on the teamsheet and rightly so, because he’s made that progress to the point where he’s capable of competing at this level,” he explained.
“He’s not played a full league game yet, he’s not started a game and I’m aware of that, and obviously that is something we need to look at because his performances from the bench have been excellent so far.
“Pleasingly his game is much more rounded now. We know what he can do with the ball, that will never change. He has pace, he’s direct, he’s two-footed and he can hurt teams. Now he’s added the responsibility side to his game as well.
“He’s a young lad, he’s come through the system and he’s more than holding his own at this level.”