Norwich City Academy goalkeeper Sam Blair has signed his first professional contract with the club, keeping him with the Canaries until summer 2023.
The young ‘keeper has been a mainstay in the Under-18s starting eleven, making seven appearances for the young Canaries, playing all 90 minutes in each of these games.
Blair also featured for City in their FA Youth Cup third round fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers in December, the ‘keeper playing his part in seeing the Canaries through to the fourth round after a 4-2 win over Wolves.
His solid performances in goal have earnt the shot-stopper spots on the bench for David Wright’s Under-23s side, most notably in the Papa John’s Trophy, in which he was on the bench against Plymouth Argyle and Cheltenham Town’s senior sides.
Discussing his contract and the feelings surrounding putting pen-to-paper on the professional deal with the Canaries, Blair described it as a ‘proud moment’, adding that there’s plenty of opportunities for a player like him in the academy.
“It’s a very proud moment for me and my family, obviously it’s been a long journey up until here, hopefully it can go on for a lot longer! I’m just very pleased to be here.
“It’s great, there’s so many opportunities available to train and play with different squads, there’s lots of opportunity for that.”
However, it wasn’t all an easy journey for Blair, the shot-stopper revealing that he hung his boots up for close to a year at a young age, before making his return to the academy, where he’s been ever since.
“I played local football when I was younger, came here and it’s just amazing to be here, having come from local football up to Colney [The Lotus Training Centre].”
“I started back in Aylsham, which is my local team, I played for them and got scouted in a couple of tournaments.
“I came up here for the U10s season and then I took a break away from football, I didn’t enjoy the pressure as a young kid in training and games.
“I quit for about nine months, slowly got back into it and spoke to Colin Watts [Youth development officer], I got back in with a few trials and then started as an U11. I got my scholarship and now I’m here today!”
Speaking on the pathway into Daniel Farke’s first-team squad, Blair says that seeing other players make it to the senior side is more than enough encouragement to get there himself, but adds that first it’s about solidifying a place in Wright’s U23s.
“It’s a great place to be at the moment, especially for goalkeepers, there’s a clear pathway here if you work hard enough and put in the performances.
“Because we’re so close to everything, you can see it all happening in front of you, so it really gives you that extra bit of motivation to do it yourself.
“There’s quite a few injuries going about, so things can be very close but very far away at the same time, so I’ve just got to keep working, putting in the performances and hopefully break into the U23s and show what I can do.”