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You can’t win points in the Championship with 18-year-olds. Norwich City have to box clever

Jamal Lewis has been a shining light for Norwich City this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Jamal Lewis has been a shining light for Norwich City this season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Daniel Farke insists he will never be forced to blood youth at Norwich City against his will.

The Canaries’ head coach is under no extra pressure from the club’s top brass to deliver first team gems, after the recent launch of an academy bond scheme.

City have re-affirmed their commitment to developing dated training facilities at Colney, with a £3.5m initiative inviting supporters to invest, but Farke’s decision is final.

Jamal Lewis, James Maddison and Todd Cantwell have all had first team exposure this season, but the likes of prolific development striker Tristan Abrahams must bide his time.

“There won’t be any gifts or presents,” he said. “It is a bit too early to put him on the pitch in the first team. But we always have an eye on our young talents in the academy. When we get the feeling he is ready and he can stand on the pitch in a first team squad, then he will. We have the feeling he still has to improve his game. A player won’t just play in the first team because they are young. No chance. He has to deserve it and to earn it through hard work. We will always have an eye on these players in training and the games and when the moment is right we will be brave enough to bring them on the pitch. No-one expected Todd to play at Chelsea in such a crucial game. He was performing well in training and he deserved to be involved in a game with millions watching. There is no pressure on me to bring in a young lad.”

Farke is adamant experience will remain a crucial component of his squad building.

“Before I signed the contract here we spoke about how we have to develop our own and we have to improve the work in the academy,” he said. “I am totally convinced it is the right way. If we have to replace a player then our first look will always be the academy. We knew we needed a left full back last summer but we wanted Jamal and even after his injury we didn’t go out and get an experienced lad. If you look at him now and his development you would say we have created value, the same with Josh Murphy and James Maddison. That is our way. But you can’t be too naïve. With just 18-year-olds on the pitch you can’t win points in the Championship. It is important you have leaders, like Alex Tettey, Ivo Pinto, Timm Klose and Grant Hanley. That is important to find a good balance.”


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