Gregg Broughton offers insight into the Canaries' AcademyIT WAS great to see some of our loanees make headlines at the weekend, including Cameron McGeehan at Cambridge United and Harry Toffolo at Swindon Town.
It’s a very difficult balance with our Under-21s; we want to try and win games and we want to try and win competitions, but we always have to prioritise individual needs ahead of that.
We sat down as a group last week, knowing that we had the Southampton and Sunderland games coming up, and yet we had Cambridge on the phone asking about Cameron.
There wasn’t even a discussion to be had, because it’s in Cameron’s best interests to be out at the moment, making his debut in the Football League, and what a debut it was for him.
I think he’s given himself a fantastic opportunity to be involved this Friday night against one of the biggest clubs in the world when they play Manchester United in the FA Cup.
I think it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for a player of his age group. Even just to be involved in that, and in the build-up to the game, will be fantastic. He’s already experienced big atmospheres and big environments with our Under-21s, our Under-18s in the FA Youth Cup run, and then with Luton last season, winning the league. He’s a player who knows how to handle those situations.
We’ve made a decision to put all of the second-year scholars into the Under-21s team between now and the end of the season. This will allow us to finalise decisions on those players in terms of contracts. They can expect to find out just before Easter.
The big group of players going out on loan has given us the room in the Under-21s squad to do that, and that’s allowed us to bring the Under-16s that we’ve made decisions on into the Under-18s team. Our plan is for the teams to look like Under-17 and Under-19 teams for the remainder of the season.
Our Under-18s then put in a good display at Fulham to earn a point on Saturday. They’ve had a bit of a rough ride recently. Every time they seem to turn the corner with a performance, it isn’t followed up with a good performance in the next game.
By putting the Under-16s players in that environment – they’ve got no fear, and as a group they had won 11 games on the bounce going into that. I think the first-years enjoyed having those players around them, and it was a very positive performance.
I’d like to welcome Callum Ellesley to the Club. Callum made his debut for the Under-18s in that game, and has joined from Tottenham as an Under-16 with a scholarship for next year.
We had to fight off a lot of competition to bring Callum in, and I’d like to thank our recruitment team for their hard work in doing that. More importantly, we welcome Callum and I’m sure he’ll have a good and fulfilling career at the football club.
Next Tuesday sees the Premier League International Cup come to Carrow Road as our Under-21s welcome Borussia Monchengladbach.
We go into the two home games remaining needing two results to be involved in the latter stages of that competition.
If we could ask all supporters to come out in the wonderful numbers that they have done so far, it will be great. We know the crowd makes a difference, not just to our performances but also in terms of affecting the opposition. It’s a very tough-looking but exciting game for us.
Finally, there’s been a coaching reshuffle a little bit further down the Development pyramid, but of no less importance to us in the Academy. Matthew Wright, who’s been with the Club for a long time now as a coach, has moved into the Youth Development Phase. His new title is Youth Development Lead Coach, and he’ll be working alongside Graeme Murty, who remains the Lead Phase Coach with those players.
Ali Colman will be heading the Foundation Phase, supported by Greg Crane, who was a young player here and has been coaching at the Club for a number of years. Finally, there’s Scott Smith, who’s been involved in recruitment in that stage. They’re now the three coaches. We’re excited about the changes, which link into one or two alterations to our philosophy, which we can talk about next time.
Norwich City Under-21s v Borussia Monchengladbach
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