Norwich City head of football development Steve Weaver says regardless of the result, it was a great feeling for the Under-18s to be back playing football after their 4-4 draw in a friendly against Wroxham on Monday.
The Academy side were close to taking a 4-3 win over the Yachtsmen, until a late equaliser saw the U18s leave Trafford Park with a draw.
Speaking on the result, Weaver said the score isn’t a priority after their first match in close to six months, as the team were just glad to be back with a ball at their feet.
“The result is probably not important, I mean this is a group of lads who last played at the beginning of March, so we’re just delighted we’re back on a football pitch," he said.
“You can see they’ve been away from each other for a long time, we’ve had three hard weeks of training and it’s the first game.
“All credit to Wroxham, they gave us a game at the last minute, so you know we’re delighted to really just come and get a game of football, it’s not about the result, it’s just about the lads getting back to seeing where they’re at and all the bits that they’ve forgotten and all the bits that they’ve remembered. It was a great workout, but it’s a group of young lads.”
Touching on fresh additions to the U18s side in the form of the new scholars at the Academy, Weaver believes all of the players will get more than enough opportunity throughout the season, with the door open to even making it into the U23s squad.
“With this group we’re probably going to keep it together, but we’ve got quite a small group of Under-23s that’ll be playing. The majority of these will probably be playing for the U18s, but be on the bench for the U23s, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities this year.
“I think you can see on some of them, although their fitness is good, they’re just very rusty at the moment. We’ve got to just keep ourselves sharp until September when it all kicks off.”
Finally, commenting on the anticipation for the new U18 Premier League season, Weaver believes the side are raring to get started in the 2020-21 campaign after such a long time away.
“I think everyone is, the first-team are less than two weeks away from the start of their season and we should be less than three.
“These lads are used to playing week in, week out from a very young age and I’ve been involved in football since I was 15 and I’m an older man now, but we’ve never been off for this long.
“It’s a really new experience and we can’t wait to get started, it’s good for the kids to be back. It’s all a little bit strange not going into dressing rooms and social distancing and everything, but we’re making the best of it.
“It’s also fair play to Wroxham tonight, they made us feel more than welcome and it’s been done properly and got a game on, so it’s been great.”