Under-18s coach Greg Crane was more than pleased with what he saw from Norwich City Under-18s in their 4-1 win over Arsenal at the Lotus Training Centre on Saturday.
Goals from Tony Springett, Tom Dickson-Peters and Abu Kamara gave the Canaries a solid lead for majority of the game, the visitors only able to get a single consolation goal before full time.
Speaking on the win, Crane described the conditions of the game as less than ideal, crediting both teams for playing through.
“I thought it was really tough for both teams, I had to get the goals staked down before the game just so they’d stay on the pitch! I thought we adapted to the conditions really well, we tried to do the right things at the right times in either half.
“Both halves were a bit crazy, we were really up against it and had it really strongly. It’s a credit to both teams, really. They tried to play, but I think conditions won on the day.”
In their last meeting with Arsenal, the Gunners took a 5-1 win over the Canaries, which Crane says is a perfect example of how the U18s develop over the season and long-term future.
“It’s just all about learning, but learning to lose 5-1, learning to win 4-1, it’s all about the development in their journey and how they react to each one. I have to say, the group have been fantastic in terms of that, they really understand the process of development.
“Yes, they get upset when they don’t win and they love it when they do, but they understand that the long-term development plan is to be in and around Daniel Farke’s first-team and hopefully win every week.”
Speaking on the goals themselves, Crane was full of praise for the U18s front four, saying it’s a joy to watch them on the pitch as they ‘create for fun’.
“To be fair to the front lads, Tom [Dickson-Peters] scored two good goals in his return to the team, a penalty with good confidence. It’s nice for Abu [Kamara] to get on the scoresheet, Tony [Springett] too.
“It was nice for all the front lads, they had chances to fill their boots today and with a little bit more quality and care I think they’ll look back on that game they’ll realise with a bit more thought, a bit more decisive decision-making in the final third, they could’ve had more. You can’t fault the front four, they create for fun, so it’s nice to watch them from the sideline.”
“That fourth goal was from a quick free-kick, Steve [Weaver, head of football development] has been doing some movement patterns during the week, so Nelson [Khumbeni] found Sean [Stewart] really well and we worked on the lads getting balls into the box.
“In terms of that, it’s nice for them to see what we work on actually work, I know it might sound a little silly but for the lads to see that, it’s really good. Strikers always like to score, so for Abu to continue his good form at the minute is really good for him personally, so fair play to him.”