Big lesson for kids - Henderson

Ian Henderson saluted Norwich's boys brigade in the wake of the Canaries FA Cup exit.Norwich boss Nigel Worthington blooded exciting Academy prospects Rossi Jarvis, Michael Spillane and Andrew Cave-Brown against the upwardly-mobile Hammers in yet another miserably brief flirtation with the world-famous cup competition.

Ian Henderson saluted Norwich's boys brigade in the wake of the Canaries FA Cup exit.

Norwich boss Nigel Worthington blooded exciting Academy prospects Rossi Jarvis, Michael Spillane and Andrew Cave-Brown against the upwardly-mobile Hammers in yet another miserably brief flirtation with the world-famous cup competition.

Henderson was the original bright young thing when he made his debut as a fresh-faced 17-year-old against Coventry back in October 2002.

The England U20 international - the Academy's first graduate into the senior side - is convinced the latest recruits have the potential to make the same step up.

“All credit to them, they've done themselves and the club proud,” he said. “It was Rossi's first taste of the first team as a professional footballer and for Michael and Andrew to get a little feel of it late on was great to see. To come out in front of 24-25,000 people is something they'll never forget. I'm full of admiration for them. Those sort of experiences only make you grow as a player and a person. The lads will only get better from here on in.

“Playing against good Premiership players is not easy, even compared to the Championship there's a difference - they show more intelligence. At the top level players can see a pass and do things a lot sharper. I think playing West Ham was a step up in class for us, but considering the amount of youngsters we had on the pitch we acquitted ourselves well.”

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Henderson's fizzing effort just shy of the hour mark sparked the Canaries into life after West Ham had coasted into a two-goal lead.

The 20-year-old admits he might even have forced an improbable Upton Park replay with a sharp chance deep into seven minutes of stoppage time.

“I had a couple of efforts towards the end and I was a bit disappointed not to see one go in,” he said. “You just have to keep getting yourself into those positions and when you do it's about trying to hit the target and work the keeper. We started a little nervously and conceding so early was the worst thing we could have done.

“Once we got into the flow of things players started looking for the ball and I felt we matched them. We tried to pass it and showed a lot of desire to get back into the game. I think the boss was happy with how we applied ourselves and kept going. West Ham's front two had so much pace and were clinical when it mattered - on the day that perhaps was the difference.”

Norwich's lengthening injury list claimed two fresh casualties with man-of-the-moment Dean Ashton ruled out (groin) prior to kick off and Robert Green stretchered away after a sickening collision with Marlon Harewood. Henderson insists the Championship show must go on beginning with next weekend's long haul to Plymouth.

“No, we won't start feeling sorry for ourselves,” he said. “Deano's injury happened during the week, so we knew about that in plenty of time to prepare and get mentally right. Fingers crossed, Greeno's knock is not too serious. We've had injuries for the last year or two, last season I remember a stage when we had 11 players out.

“It's down to the bare bones again, but that's football - you're always having to chop and change. We still managed to climb up the table recently and it's vital to keep pushing on and pressure the sides above us now.”

Whether Ashton remains at Carrow Road to lead that playoff charge continues to be the subject of intense speculation.

“Good players will always attract rumours - it's part of the job and not something that is going to disrupt us,” he said. “Deano has got three or four years on his current contract. He has to do what's right for his career, but hopefully that's going to be with us.”

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