Desire of Norwich City youngsters delights academy coaches
- Credit: JASON DAWSON/JASONPIX
The dramatic success of Norwich City's under-18s squad has thrilled coaches at the club's academy, who had asked the youngsters to prove their desire to make it as professionals.
The young Canaries roared back from 4-1 down to win 5-4 in extra-time against Middlesbrough in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup at Carrow Road on Wednesday – to the delight of U18s coach Graeme Murty.
'One of the main things we've been talking about in the academy this year is how you create hunger in what is essentially paradise for young men who have got a lot, who are in a fantastic academy environment and are taken care of really well,' the former Reading full-back said.
'How do we create that hunger, that drive and that grit? And we've come to the conclusion that you have to put them to the challenge and reveal whether that character is there.
'Each and every one of them that stepped on to the pitch showed fantastic amounts of grit, fantastic amounts of character and for their development I think it could be a watershed moment.'
The victory, following on from wins away at Hull City and Sunderland in earlier rounds, has teed up a trip to the cash-rich academy of Manchester City in the last eight – with the game to be played at the 55,000-capacity Etihad Stadium.
The current City U18s are trying to repeat the success of 2013, when the trophy was lifted by Neil Adams' team. It's really an eye-opener for me because young men who have played U21s football can become a little bit jaded almost when they have to play 18s football, they feel it's a demotion and that's not the case here in the FA Youth Cup,' Murty continued.
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'Every single one in the squad wants to be involved and I guarantee the 21s will be abuzz, everyone will be talking about it, talking to the players about what's going to happen and what's the way forward, what we're going to do.
'You really get the sensation that here at this club it really means something.'
Murty saw the Citizens youngsters beat Wigan 3-1 after extra-time on Tuesday night and expects a tough test.
'I went to watch them against Wigan, they've got really, really good individuals, they keep the ball really well,' he added.
'It's going to be hard. I'm not sure anything the boys do in this season will be harder than coming back from 4-1 down though!'