Norwich City U21s travel to Chelsea hoping to bounce back from big defeat
JASON DAWSON ©Jason Dawson
Making up for a brutal defeat at Old Trafford will be a key motivation for Norwich City Under-21s when they take on Chelsea this evening.
Keeper ends injury woe
Teenage goalkeeper Marcus Beauchamp has thanked Norwich City’s academy staff for helping him to recover from a serious knee injury.
The 18-year-old brought an end to nine months of injury frustration when he started City’s under-18s’ latest match, a 1-0 loss at Tottenham Hotspur.
“I’ve had great support from everybody; my family, girlfriend, the coaching staff and of course the medical team. Damien Bowyer, the under-18s physio, has been unbelievable throughout,” the keeper told City’s website. “He’s guided me every step of the way, and I owe a lot to him definitely. I started training with the team fully after Christmas, but I’d been working with the goalkeepers before that, which helped me to get to where I am now.
“My parents were there to see me play against Tottenham, and I was pleased with how I played. A lot of people have given me the motivation to keep going, so I’m really grateful.”
The former Bristol Rovers trainee, who won the 2014-15 Under-18s Premier League save of the season award, added: “It’s been a long haul, but to be back is unbelievable; the first time I trained was such an uplifting feeling.”
The young Canaries take on the Blues at Aldershot (7.05pm kick-off) in their latest U21 Premier League game, looking to bounce back from a 7-0 loss to an experienced Manchester United U21 side last week.
United included international players including Memphis Depay, Phil Jones and Adnan Januzaj in that match and 18-year-old defender Michee Efete says City are looking forward to getting back out on the pitch.
“We’re looking forward to it after the United game, because we want to put things right,” Efete said. “In that match we tried to do everything we could, but it was difficult against a side with their experience. We’ll take lessons from that, and from facing players like Memphis Depay, into our future games. Obviously we have a very young team, so we know it’s going to be a tough against Chelsea. They have players who could be in other teams’ senior sides, which means it’s going to be a good test for us.”
The Canaries go into the game second from bottom in the 12-team Division One table, with two draws and two defeats since thumping Southampton 7-2 at Carrow Road in November. Jamar Loza scored five of those goals but like a host of players from the U21 squad, is currently out on loan, leaving some of the club’s younger players to play at a higher age group, such as 16-year-old winger Glenn Middleton.
U21s coach Dmitri Halajko, speaking to City’s website, added: “There were times where we were exposed against United, albeit against very good, world-class players. The players have reacted in a good way in terms of looking at themselves and what they can learn from it. No-one enjoys losing a game by that margin, but they’ve dusted themselves off and thought about what they can do better ready for the next game.”
• City Under-18s’ FA Youth Cup quarter-final at Manchester City will take place at the Academy Stadium on Monday, February 29 (7pm).