Tough love is the Norwich City way for Max Aarons
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City starlet Max Aarons is on the fast track to the top.
Aarons made a nerveless Championship debut in the 1-1 derby draw at Ipswich Town, just days after his first senior goal for the club in the League Cup away win at Cardiff City.
The 18-year-old was plucked from the academy in the summer by Daniel Farke, and the head coach is keen to keep his feet firmly on the floor.
Aarons is with England's Under-19s this week, rubbing shoulders with some of the best young talent in the game, but Farke insists early success will not go to his head.
'I don't like to praise the young players so don't tell him, but I love him a lot,' joked Farke. 'Max is a brilliant lad who really deserves to be in the spotlight at the moment.
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'With his attitude and workload from pre-season onwards he deserves this England call up. I am pretty sure it is not the end of his progress. Like I have said before, there is no gifts or presents for young players. He has earned this.
'Jamal Lewis had a breakthrough at the age of 20, James Maddison, you could say the same after a loan stint, Max is 18, so he is younger than both. Sometimes we forget this and we need to keep it in mind.
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'He is so grown up and it is a big, big value for the club how quickly he is able to adapt to this level of football.
'If you go back four or five months to who others were talking about in the academy, no-one was speaking of Max Aarons. But inside the club I was pretty sure this lad would make his way.
'Full backs are not in the spotlight as much as strikers and he is not this impressive physical presence, but you could see he was on the right way. We must develop him further and he will go further on.'
Farke's faith in Maddison was rewarded last season, with the head coach instrumental in the England Under 21 midfielder's club-record sale to Leicester City.
'Maybe 14 months ago the question was, 'Do we send him out on loan?' Maybe get a loan fee from a League One club of £100,000 or whatever,' said Farke. 'We sold a brilliant player for an unbelievable amount of money.
'The same with Josh or Jacob Murphy. It is important we invest that not only in salaries for experienced players but in the infrastructure so our academy can produce more of these players.
'That doesn't help so much in the short term but it will in the mid to longer term.'