Norwich City Academy’s Head of Football Development Steve Weaver was pleased with the Under-18s 4-1 friendly win over Cambridge on Tuesday afternoon, saying some of the team will go on to feature in the Under-23s throughout the 2020-21 campaign.
Speaking on the win and it being the first game back to football in up to six months, Weaver said the players had to be mindful not to take it too far in the 90 minutes, especially since some may be involved in the U23s friendly against King’s Lynn Town later in the day (7pm KO).
“It’s good for the first-years to get their first game of football since February, to be fair, so they’re really pleased. We obviously played a younger team, so they ran out of steam a little bit at the end of the second-half, I think with all young players you’ve just got to be mindful of taking it a bit too far and getting injured.
“We’re a week or so away from the season with everyone fit in both age groups of U23s and U18s, so we’re delighted, but half of the group are going to travel to King’s Lynn tonight to be with David [Wright, Under-23s coach] as well.
“They’ve all had 15-20 minutes at the end, and they’ll be involved tonight, so touch wood it’s going pretty well.”
“I think we’ve thrown some of the 18s in a little bit early over the past two or three years, which has been tough for them. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve come out the other side of it, but what we’ve done is probably had too many U23s player in the last couple of years, if I’m honest.
“I’d say we’ve got less that are going to play in the U23s this year and more lads that’ll probably go on loan. Dave is now working with 11 or 12 players, which then gives a really good opportunity to these lads today.
“That’s what we’re looking to do this year, we’ve got a reasonably talented group in the teams and they just need a bit of opportunity.”
Speaking on the results across the age groups, Weaver says the side look forward to the campaign ahead, but the Academy continue to gauge their success from the player’s growth, not the scores.
“We’re always confident, I think we’re more confident about where the players will end up, we’ve got Plymouth in the EFL Trophy and there’ll be two or three of these boys that will be involved in that as good experience.
“We only gauge success on how our lads do in the first-team or in someone’s first-team somewhere. We look forward to the campaign, but success for us has always been debuts and developing young careers.
“We should know where we’re at with the fixtures, so it’ll just be arranging them and we’re away to go. We look forward to the first games and what happens, we don’t know.
"We don’t know if a lad jumps into the first-team early, which then changes that we go on. It’s nice to be back and playing a bit of football now, so it’s good.”