Ben Godfrey swoop is part of Alex Neil’s youth policy at Norwich City

Norwich City midfielder Ben Godfrey is a prospect for manager Alex Neil. Picture: Norwich City FC

Norwich City midfielder Ben Godfrey is a prospect for manager Alex Neil. Picture: Norwich City FC - Credit: Norwich City

Ben Godfrey's signing is the first step in Alex Neil's quest to find the best young domestic talent.

The 18-year-old completed a move from League Two York City on Friday, and Neil confirmed the Canaries' transfer strategy also contains a long-term dimension.

'We have been aware of him for a good few months. We have had him watched, as we have other young English players,' he said. 'It is something we have to do in terms of the medium to longer term future here because they are the lifeblood of the club.

'At that age, who is to know whether they are going to become a first team player? That is where the difficult lies. All we can do is get the ones we see with huge potential and work with them. He'll be monitored and assessed until the end of the season and them potentially from next season we can maybe put him out somewhere to gain more experience.'

Godfrey is Norwich's second signing of this window after the arrival of Ivo Pinto from Dinamo Zagreb and a permanent deal for Matt Jarvis.

'I like to have a British backbone to the players we recruit, but in the modern-day market to get those domestic players who are already established is really difficult and expensive,' said Neil. 'The one thing we want to do is cherry-pick the best young ones, get them at a development stage and hopefully bring them through to our first team. Ben is only 18. He has played first team football for York and that in itself suggests his development is progressing really quickly. He is not one for the first team at the moment. We'll introduce him into the development squad and gradually work him through.'

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