Norwich City Under-23s coach David Wright was left pleased with his side’s performance against six senior players in their 2-0 loss to Leeds United on Sunday.
The Canaries were matched up against an assortment of Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team squad in their 2-0 loss to the Peacocks, with Ian Poveda and Raphinha both getting on the scoresheet.
Despite the loss, Wright was delighted for his players to get yet another test against senior opposition, saying it’s the perfect way to assess their development.
“It was a great experience for the boys, certainly against the calibre Leeds had out. They had six first-team lads and international players who have won lots of promotions and who are in the squad for their senior side.
“For our young group to come up against that and put themselves up against it to see where they’re at, it’s great for them and it’s great for us to see them against that level of player.
“A couple of boys struggled with it, but some boys really stood up, especially the likes of Andrew [Omobamidele] and Jon McCracken, I thought they were excellent.
“You then look at the younger boys, Tom Dickson-Peters and Sean Stewart, those lads have had really busy weekend at Chelsea on Friday and then Sean makes his debut for us on the Sunday and he’s against Pablo Hernandez. It’s brilliant and those two came out with such good credit.”
Asked about the team’s initial reaction to seeing such experienced players in the Leeds starting lineup, Wright explained that the side need to be used to that level of quality in order to progress into first-team football.
“It’s good for the coaches to see how the players react to it. All the lads want to progress and become first-team players, they want to go across and train with them. If they want to do that, then that’s the type of player they’ll come up against every single day.
“If they want a long career they need to get used to that and respect the player that’s in front of them, but they can’t fear them, they need to go out there and perform to their level.”
Finding multiple attacking chances in the first half, before having to dig deep and defend for majority of the second, the saying of a tale of two halves couldn’t be more relevant in this fixture.
Asked about the showings up both ends of the pitch, Wright credited his side’s hard-work and determination throughout the entirety of the 90 minutes.
“We went in at 2-0 at half-time, but we had a goal disallowed which I’ve watched back, and I can’t see how it was disallowed.
“We then had two really good opportunities with William [Hondermarck] and Tom [Dickson-Peters] going through one-on-one with the goalkeeper and unfortunately, they couldn’t take the chance.
"That was the psychological part of it because there was an ex-Real Madrid goalkeeper stood in front of them and they couldn’t execute it.
“In general, the lads had to really work in the second-half, to be fair to them I was really pleased.
"Some of the recovery runs they did were absolutely brilliant, Leeds were very good at counter-attacking with real drive, but we stood up to that and recovered with them. For a young side to do that is really pleasing.”