'That is an inspiration. We all know the story' - Big boots to fill for Norwich City's FA Youth Cup hopefuls
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Norwich City fan Alfie Payne is living the dream as he prepares to lead his club into FA Youth Cup battle on Tuesday against Barnsley (KO 7pm).
The teenage midfielder will swap a season ticket in the Barclay for the Carrow Road pitch to try and guide his boyhood team past the Tykes.
“I was born in Norwich hospital, grew up here and really from my grandparents down we are all Norwich fans,” he said.
“They are quite proud of me, they will be proud to see me come out at Carrow Road and I can’t wait as well. For me, it makes it even better that I am playing for the team I always wanted to play for.
“Right back to when I was four or five, dreaming of playing for Norwich.
“Now I am doing it for the youth team is great, but I want to push on. I have had a season ticket in the Barclay for a long time now, so I know exactly what it is like to be a supporter and now I am a player.
“It’ll be good to play in front of a decent crowd at Carrow Road.
“The lads are really looking forward to the game. Every year we wait for the draw.
“We have a couple of lads who play regularly (for the development squad) so they are a bit more used to playing at the stadium.
“Others perhaps played at Carrow Road in the Hospital Cup and it is something to savour.
“There is always a little bit more excitement around cup games.”
Reminders of City’s thrilling FA Youth Cup win in 2013 are everywhere at the club’s Colney training base.
“When we walk around the training ground and the dome there are pictures of the lads who won the competition a few years back,” said Payne.
“We can see the pathway, with Jacob and Josh (Murphy) both playing for the first team here before Jacob moved on and Cameron McGeehan now playing in the Championship.
“That is an inspiration. We all know the story and we want to follow in their footsteps and achieve some of the same goals.
“We can speak to the senior lads around the place and they pass on some advice about handling big games.
“We get given a set of jobs to do around the training ground, like making sure the first team coaches have all the equipment they need for training sessions. We clean their boots as well.
“I clean Harrison Reed’s, who plays in the same position as me, so he always passes on advice.”
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Group Football Editor Paddy Davitt on the following channels…