Norwich City Academy’s Head of Football Development Steve Weaver says the Under-18s had another good performance in their development after their 3-3 draw against West Ham on Saturday afternoon.
The young Canaries went behind early on but scored three times in five minutes to regain the lead. The second half had City digging deep for the win, but a late leveller from the Hammers saw the points shared.
Speaking in his post-match interview, Weaver said that while their performance was good in the draw, the season’s impact is starting to show on the U18s as they looked fatigued in the last part of the game.
“We were probably a bit leggy on the day and to be fair to West Ham, they started brighter than us. We had a chance early on as well to go one up, we missed that then they went up and punished us.
“We had that spell again where we had 15-20 minutes of scoring, we should’ve been 4-1 up because Oscar’s [Thorn] third goal wasn’t offside because he pulled the ball back.
“I think the second half probably shows where we are at the moment. These lads have played a lot of football, it’s been a long and hard year for them. To play pretty much every game, we had a few boys going down with cramp. It’s been a tough time, we pushed the 18s up, we looked a bit tired later on.
“It’s another good game for them, we don’t draw many! It was a bit unusual for us, and I felt a draw in the end was probably a fair result, it would’ve been a bit unjust for anyone to lose. It’s coming towards the end of the season, we had really good bits, we just looked tired near the end.”
Speaking on City’s scoring flurry, finding the back of the net three times in five minutes, the City coach says that the team are still learning their best side of the game, saying they need to find a balance between counter-attacking and controlling the tempo of the game.
“The team plays the way where we’re probably at our best when the opposition has the ball in our half, we can counter and break pretty quickly. We’ve got players who can do that, but there’s a great emphasis on the strikers and wide players, they can’t do it all the time.
“I think sometimes this group is learning to be a little bit better at keeping the ball and dominating the pace of the game a little bit better. I think we payed in the second half for that scoring spell because during that time some of the football was exhilarating and stuff you want to watch but kids this age can’t maintain that.
“We’re just trying to find a balance between being devasting on the counter-attack and playing that brand of football and having a few more passes.
“To be fair to West Ham, they didn’t really allow that. We’ve had three good games against them this season, we won when we went there, they beat us in the youth cup and we drew here, so we’re even by the end of it!"