Steve Weaver: First-team environment has enabled young players to flourish

Steve Weaver has heaped praise on Daniel Farke and his first-team coaching staff for creating an environment for young players to thrive in.

Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell, Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis have all graduated from the academy over the past 18 months and all four have played a considerable number of minutes for Farke’s side this season.

Weaver believes part of this is down to the culture, driven by the City Head Coach and Sporting Director Stuart Webber, of giving youth an opportunity to express themselves in senior football.

“The manager [Farke] has a major influence in the way that they play and he puts a lot of trust in them, he said.

“They’ve also been allowed to make mistakes, not that they’ve made too many, and their level of performance has been excellent.

“Daniel has created the opportunity by being brave enough to play them, but I think they’ve repaid that faith. The academy will take a bit of credit for their success but ultimately it’s down to the environment the manager has created.”

Weaver was speaking to during the EFL’s Youth Development Week, organised to celebrate the successes of the EFL and its Clubs in developing young English players.

As well as having youngsters in the Canaries’ first-team, Under-23s players Timi Odusina, Caleb Richards and Simon Power will all gain senior experience out on loan over the coming months.

“All three of those players were coming to the end of their academy careers so a loan move was the next logical step,” he added.

“We’ve been to see Timi twice at Fylde now and he was excellent in those matches. The National League is tough for a defender and it’s a lot more physical but it’s a great test for him. He’ll come back to us in the summer and hopefully take the next step and progress.

“Caleb is really enjoying himself in Tampa Bay. He’s had his first week of training and he’s excited for the challenges that lie ahead out there.

“Simon set two up and scored in Dordrecht’s last game. It was a real positive night for us. These moves are about furthering their careers.”

There’s always pressure at clubs across the country to continue to produce young talent and Weaver says the Norwich City Academy aren’t resting on their laurels.

“We are certainly working very hard. We’ve got four through the door but you’re always under pressure to produce more.

“We’re quietly confident that we’ve got some players that can make that step up and we’ve just got to make sure they’re ready for that moment when it comes.”

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