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Academy News

David Wright: We needed to be braver

6 April 2019

David Wright said his Under-23s side “needed to be braver” following Friday night’s 4-1 defeat against Southampton.

Southampton took the lead 13 minutes in when Dan N’Lundulu found a way past Jon McCracken and doubled their lead just before half-time when Thomas O’Connor headed in following a corner.

Seconds after the re-start the Saints got a third through Tyreke Johnson before Pierre Fonkeu netted for City on his return from injury with over 10 minutes left to play. However, Will Smallbone’s driven shot six minutes from time put the game out of Norwich's reach.

“It was quite disappointing really,” said David Wright. “We had a game plan, the boys understood what we wanted to do, we discussed this before and at half-time but they weren’t brave enough to carry it out.

“They were a really high aggressive team and we knew that we would have to be brave on the ball to get that first pass out. We needed to pass through the press, but once we got through that press we would be through to that back three pretty quickly and unfortunately we just couldn’t get that pass through.”

Despite the result, Wright was pleased to welcome back Fonkeu and First Team player Carlton Morris from long-term injuries, with the former missing since pre-season.

Wright said: “I’m really pleased for Pierre. Obviously he’s been out for a long time, he came on and hustled and bustled, he worked really hard and got his reward with the goal so it’s really pleasing.

“Also Carlton got 45 minutes on his return back from a lengthy injury as well, so they’re the two pluses that we can take away from the game.”

Wright went on to emphasise how young the Norwich Under-23s side is, believing they’re more of an Under-19s side when it comes to age.

He said: “It’s a very young side, we’re not really an Under-23s team, more of an Under-19s team. But we want to expose our boys to this level at that age. We also have a lot of players out playing National League football which is a great experience.

“Once they get that opportunity, they must take it and that’s part and parcel of being a footballer, you must show the character and bravery, it doesn’t matter what age you are. We’ve got Max Aarons in the First Team who expresses himself week in, week out.

“These boys have got to learn quickly that age is just an age, and they have to be brave enough to express themselves.”


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