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Academy News

Match preview: Aston Villa Under-23s v Norwich City Under-23s

17 September 2020

Just four days after an emphatic 3-0 win over Reading in their first game of the Premier League 2 campaign, Norwich City Under-23s travel to Bodymoor Heath training ground to face Aston Villa (7pm KO).

Marking their first away game of the season, David Wright’s side are in the best stead they can be going into this fixture after a dominant 90 minutes against Reading on Monday evening.

The young Canaries are now on a four-match win streak after pre-season wins over Ipswich Town U23s, King’s Lynn Town, Plymouth Argyle and a league victory against Reading U23s.

To make things even better for the side, two of these wins came against senior opposition, meaning confidence should be sky-high going into this clash against the Villans.

City will have fond memories of their last outing against Aston Villa, taking a 2-1 win when they last met in January of the 2019-20 season, Shae Hutchinson finding the back of the net for both of the Canaries’ goals.

City were 1-1 heading into the last 20 minutes of the game, chasing the winner. Ben Guy received a second yellow in the 71st minute, which proved to be crucial in City’s winner as Hutchinson scored just three minutes later.

Villa’s first game of the season didn’t get off to the same start as the Canaries, taking a 3-1 loss to West Bromwich Albion, conceding two goals in injury time after the Villans scored a leveller just minutes previous.

U23s centre-half Jon Tomkinson says the team aren’t worried about who they face in the league, on the condition that they can stick to their philosophy on the pitch.

“I think we’re not actually too worried about how the opposition plays, but more about how we play.

“It doesn’t matter who we play against as long as we play the way we want to, we always go on about being brave in possession and out of possession, if we do that I think we’ll be fine.”

Speaking on their form so far in the pre-season and beginning of the campaign, the American defender says that the team understanding one another makes it ‘easy to dominate games’.

“I think the togetherness right now in the squad coming off a short pre-season and that win away against Plymouth, we all have such a good understanding of each other now.

“Knowing how we want to play and how each other plays makes things so cohesive. It’s easy to play well together, so it’s easier to dominate games like that.

“We had so much possession, so many passes completed, shots. That togetherness helps make their lives harder and ours easier.”

Finally, discussing his sudden progression from the U18s to the U23s at the end of the 2019-20 season, Tomkinson says he enjoyed taking to the challenge, crediting himself as a fast-learner for the task.

“I always like being challenged, so stepping up to the Under-23s back then was a big challenge for me, the speed of play is much quicker.

“Sometimes we’re playing against men and first-team players, so you have to be physically ready and if you’re not, you’ve got to be smarter than them.

“I think I’m a quick-learner and the boys and coaches around me are always there to support me, so it’s been a very smooth transition and I’m enjoying it.”

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