Baby of the team Korey Smith is a fast learner
Korey Smith may be the baby of the Norwich City team – but he's maturing fast.
The 19-year-old midfielder , who has gone from young hopeful to first-team regular in less than a season and a half, is battling to be fit for Sunday's derby clash against Ipswich after missing the 1-1 draw with Leeds on Saturday because of an ankle injury.
It's a huge game for Smith if he makes it, but Canaries right-back Russell Martin says there is already an old head on young shoulders.
Martin says he has seen a change in the teenager who usually plays just in front of him down City's right flank.
'100pc for sure,' said Martin. 'I think when I first came in last year he was still really trying to establish himself and make sure he was playing, but since he's been playing every week he has grown, and I think physically he has got as lot better as well, a lot stronger.'
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It was that aspect of his game that concerned Lambert when he quickly made him a regular after his arrival at City last year – but 37 league appearances later the former Academy skipper was still going strong.
'He lasts a lot better in games now, whereas after 60 minutes or so last year he maybe started to tire a little bit,' said Martin.
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'But that is all part of physically maturing.
'And it's his age as well – it's so hard to play a season at that age, as he did – and at a club like this as well, where the expectation level is massive.
'Mentally he is a great lad – he is really grounded, he wants to learn and he wants to listen and I think that's the biggest thing; the more he continues to develop physically, as he has this season. I think he has got a great career ahead of him.'
Martin sees Smith in action close-up, given their respective positions, and enjoys the on-field relationship.
'I do enjoy playing with him, especially when we are in a four and he can get out wide when it's a bit easier to link up at times,' Martin said.
'If he's tucked into a diamond it's hard work for him to get back out and then get back in, but we work on it in training quite a bit and he's a great lad.
'He listens – he's a young lad and he just wants to learn.
'It's a pleasure to play with someone like that. Sometimes you come across young players who believe in their own hype, he's not like that at all, especially considering the season he had last year.
'He was fantastic considering his age and as long as he keeps listening to the experienced lads in the changing room and as long as he keeps enjoying it, and he has been I think, hopefully that will continue.'