Academy Manager Gregg Broughton blogs on the 2015-16 seasonIT'S the international break and the Academy has seen three players earn recognition for their countries.
Under-16s striker Glenn Middleton, who signed a long-term contract with the Club last season, went away with Scotland and had two matches last week. It went well on the back of his first start for the Under-18s against West Ham United a fortnight ago.
Cameron King is away with Scotland’s Under-21s this week, and Joe Crowe is with Northern Ireland Under-19s, so they are the three from the group who are away.
It’s a fantastic experience for them. Last season we had ten players from the Academy represent their countries, and we’re very much hoping we can get a similar number this season.
The Under-18s put in a very strong performance against West Ham in their last match.
I don’t think there was a great deal of difference between the first-half of the West Ham game and the Arsenal match a week before, which they lost 2-0, except that Arsenal got the first goal.
We got the first goal against West Ham after they had missed a very good chance in the first five minutes. We’ve then scored, and you’ve seen the confidence in the group lift and after that we had 12 or 13 shots.
Little things like that can make a big difference. Hopefully when we play our next game against Aston Villa on Saturday, we can start playing with that same confidence.
It usually takes until Christmas for our first-year scholars to fully settle into life full-time at the Club, especially those who have moved away from home for the first time.
The first few weeks are always quite testing, so we won’t see the best of the group until Christmas but it is a promising group and Graeme Murty is asking the right questions of them.
Our Under-21s were beaten 3-0 by an impressive PSV Eindhoven team in their International Cup meeting at Carrow Road on Wednesday, but I think there are a lot of positives we can take from the match.
We have to stretch ourselves as a group, for us to see where individuals are and where they’ve got to get to. 3-0 was a fair reflection; even though they scored two late goals, they were three goals better than us and we have to hold our hands up and say that.
In terms of the individuals in our team, they have to look at the levels which the PSV reached technically firstly, tactically in terms of their game-plan and their understanding, and physically – there wasn’t one player in their team who didn’t have fantastic athletic attributes.
We probably played better against PSV than we did when we drew 2-2 with Chelsea, although the result didn’t reflect that.
The crowd was overwhelming once again on Friday.
I got to Carrow Road at 5.45pm and thought ‘we’re going to have a big crowd here tonight’. It was almost like a first team game with the number of fans in the concourses.
Within four or five days, to have nearly 2,500 supporters turn out again is massive for us. We have big games against Liverpool and Spurs coming up at Carrow Road over the next two months, and we’d love it if we can get a similar number, if not more, to those two matches.
The Under-21s are a group in transition. We’ve got players who are on loan, or who need to go on loan. Players like Cameron Norman, Reece Hall-Johnson, Conor McGrandles and Jamar Loza – they’re the four who, when the loan window reopens, we will be working really hard with Neil Adams to ensure that we get the right loan experience for them.