Norwich City legend Grant Holt gave the Academy an insight into his career when he appeared as a guest speaker in an online talk on Tuesday evening.
All players from the Under-15s to the Under-23s were able to listen in, as Holt discussed everything from his first club to the biggest decisions of his career, giving an honest perspective for the players to consider in their respective journeys in the sport.
After touching on a variety of aspects in his career, Holt gave the opportunity to any young player to ask questions about his time as a professional footballer, a chance many of them jumped at.
Speaking on the talk, Holt said it’s important for him to help the players however he can, even if they don’t use all of his advice.
“I think it’s important because people have seen it, but like anything, there are things that they might not use now, but they might be two or three years down the line when something reminds them of it and they remember the conversation we had and think, ‘I remember that scenario and this is what he said he did’.
“You hope that they take snippets. They might not use everything, but if a player takes one little bit then you’ve helped in that lad’s career. For me, that’s the best feeling in the world anyway.
“I’m quite lucky that I know most of the lads who were in there, so for me it’s probably easier talking to them because they know me personally. A lot of the lads in there are very open and honest and will speak to us.
“I’m very fortunate that I still go into the building and they speak to other old pros. It’s a difficult time for the 23s and 18s, we’ve seen some of the lads have been released and they’ll start journeys to different clubs. I hope the interactions they had with us and the other pros help them in the future.”
Discussing other talks the players receive, Holt said it’s important to learn from other’s experiences, regardless of who they are.
“I think it’s important for them to hear all the stories. We’re quite lucky that we have good people coming in, we all do different things and have different guest speakers giving talks. It’s not just the ex-pros either, we have lads that come in from different circles like rugby and the army.
“The only way to learn is by hearing these stories, no matter who it is. It doesn’t have to be a footballer, because different things from different stories can help. If they take that knowledge as they go along it can only be good for them.”
Asked about the content of his talk, Holt thinks he told the players what he would’ve liked to hear when starting his career at their age, and reminded them of why they’re in the City Academy.
“I think I said things I’d have wanted to hear, little things I’ve learned along the way. I think that’s the most important thing, to give them stuff from what I’ve done and hopefully it helps them.
“I tried to just explain to them, just because you might not be in the Premier League by the time you’re 21, doesn’t mean you’re not going to be a Premier League player.
“No matter what that journey looks like, whatever it ends up being, if you get a chance to be in football then you’ve done it. Not everyone’s career is going to be the same. Hopefully they have their journey and they enjoy it.
“The most important thing is to remember why you’re doing it, and that’s what I was trying to get across, you do it to enjoy playing football that you’ve loved since you were a kid.”