TELSTAR TALES: Dutch loan a step to City success for Adshead
PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 October 2020
“It was surreal” – Dan Adshead’s description of the moment he was named on the bench for the Canaries’ clash with Manchester City on the final day of last season.
The 19-year-old, who grew up a stone’s throw away from the Etihad Stadium, was forced to pinch himself as he looked across to the opposing dugout to see players he idolised as a youngster.
The Manchester City fan now finds himself developing overseas as the latest City youngster to profit from an ever-growing relationship between Norwich City and SC Telstar.
Andries Jonker, now his boss, described him as one of ‘Norwich City’s biggest talents’, but the former Rochdale midfielder is just relieved to be back in a first-team environment.
“I was 17 when I joined. So, going into the U23s, it’s a good level. I needed to get used to how Norwich wanted to play, Norwich get used to how I play and just improving everything all round with the facilities they have, because I never had that at Rochdale.
“It’s not really a step down but I know what you mean going from a first-team into a U23s – it was necessary for a year.
“I was in a first-team environment every day for about two years and then you make the drop down, but I was still in and around the first team. I was training with them now and again and I obviously made the bench against Manchester City in the Premier League.
“I was also in the squad for another game so I was in and around them, but hopefully it can be a bit more of a constant theme rather than every now and again.”
Adshead is another prospect that the Canaries hold high hopes for - he was exposed to the rigours of senior football whilst at Spotland.
That grounding introduced him to the professional environment, but for City, this loan is designed to improve his technical skills ahead of staking his claim to be involved under Daniel Farke on a more consistent basis.
“The football here is different – it’s a lot more technical, which I think suits me very well. That’s why I’m here, to improve. They love to play football, Telstar, and so do every other team in the league.
“It suits me perfectly. Especially given that’s how Norwich want to play. Everything just links up and it’s just a perfect move for me at this moment in time and we’re doing well.
“It’s a really good life experience – not many people can say that they came to Holland to play football so it’s incredible and I’m just very grateful for the opportunity they’ve given to me.
“You just have to grow up. I’ve done everything on my own – I lived on my own at Norwich but in terms of cooking and the housework, I was fine. It’s just little things, but you have to get on with it. It was difficult at first but now I’m settled everything is good.”
Swapping regular first-team football for a slot in a then-Premier League’s side’s academy could be perceived from the outside as a step down.
For Adshead, it was an intrinsic step that he needed to take for the long-term progression of his career.
“It was different but it was something I needed to do for my career. I’ve never had the facilities that Norwich gave me. So that gave me a great platform to improve myself on and off the pitch especially with the gym and all of the staff like Jay (Eastoe-Smith, head of academy performance) and everyone that helped build me into the player that I am today.
“Everyone knows my quality and we just need to get me to the next step. I think that has always been the case since I arrived, really.
“I had to do a year. Now we look forward to the future and we know that a first-team environment is definitely what I need. I know that myself and everyone at Norwich knows it as well. That’s why I’m here.”
Despite his acceptance of the bigger picture, Adshead must have felt a tinge of frustration given the artificial nature of youth football at academy level, particularly after featuring 11 times in League One for Dale.
The return of that competitive element and fighting for three points every week has been a welcome one for the midfielder after a year of U23s football.
“I had it at Rochdale and then the Norwich U23s, (David) Wrighty and all the other coaching staff stress that it’s all about winning there as well. I’ve always known that attitude. Everyone needs to have that whether you’re playing in a first team or if you’re playing in U16s. You’ve got to want to win no matter what.
“With there actually being a league now and potential promotion or relegation, it makes it more competitive. I love that edge to football, that is what it’s all about.”
Adshead sees himself at a similar point in his Norwich City career as Todd Cantwell experienced prior to his breakthrough loan with Dutch side Fortuna Sittard.
In Farke, the 19-year-old has a tough taskmaster – something he has experienced first hand when training with the Canaries first team during last season.
“Every manager is (demanding of young players). But I like it. I enjoy it. You need that demand, especially when making that step up to the first-team from the U23s. You have to give a good impression because they aren’t going to hold back.
“They will tell you if you need to improve but I think it’s about not giving them that chance to say anything to you because you’re training just as well as they are.
“The demands are very high because we’re a Championship club but when I step up with them, it’s brilliant. I love training with them.”
At Telstar, Adshead has caught the eye in the opening seven games of the season. He is yet to register a goal but has featured in every match beyond one due to the results of a coronavirus test coming back late.
Jonker’s knowledge, along with his assistant Edgar Davids, is something the youngster is hoping to exploit during his time at club.
“You just have to take a look at his CV, he’s been at some unbelievable clubs. He’s a brilliant manager. It’s such a good experience because he is such a top, top coach. The little pieces of advice he gives me, I’m not going to get that anywhere else.
“He’s been at some many different places so his knowledge is just so good. It’s really good to be coached by him and learn under him. It has already improved me a lot but I hope it will continue to do so.
“We play very similar to Norwich. You get the ball down to play, be brave the manager here always says.
“That is what the manager at Norwich says as well, one team is playing in England and the other in Holland but the football is the same.”
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