Dmitri Halajko admits he agonised over decision to leave Norwich City

Norwich City U23s manager Dmitri Halajko, right, shares a joke with first-team assistant manager Fra

Norwich City U23s manager Dmitri Halajko, right, shares a joke with first-team assistant manager Frankie McAvoy during an U23s game against Celtic earlier this season. Picture by Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd

Deciding to leave Norwich City was a 'really tough' decision for under-23s coach Dmitri Halajko.

The Canaries revealed last week that Halajko will leaving at the end of this month to take up a senior role with a Premier League academy.

The former Colchester United academy coach joined City's academy in 2012, taking on responsibilty for the U23 team at the start of the 2015-16 season, as part of his role as professional development phase lead coach.

Halajko, speaking after his side's 1-0 loss to Aston Villa U23s at Carrow Road on Monday, is not yet able to publicly reveal which club he is joining but was able to reveal more about his switch.

'I've got a role with a Premier League academy, a senior role overseeing a department rather than one specific team, which is a new challenge for me, to shape a whole kind of philosophy,' he said.

'I'm really looking forward to it, I'm moving on for the change of role really, it's been fantastic here for me, I've learned so much, especially from the first-team staff and some of the academy staff here.

'It's been amazing but a fresh challenge was what I felt was going to push my career on again but hopefully I leave it in quite good shape.'

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Last season City's development squad finished bottom of Division One of the U21 Premier League, which was altered to an U23 competition for this season and renamed Premier League Two.

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The U23s are currently second from bottom in Division Two, having won three of their 16 league games, but have enjoyed more success in the Premier League International Cup.

Wins over Celtic, Valencia and Villa ensured the Canaries were the only club to qualify from the group stages with a 100 per cent record, earning a quarter-final tie against Dinamo Zagreb.

In his time with the club Halajko has helped with the development of youngsters including Carlton Morris, Ray Grant, Todd Cantwell and Glenn Middleton, with a policy of using players above their age group to accelerate development.

Match report: Norwich City U23s 0 Aston Villa U23s 1 – Keeper denies young Canaries in feisty encounter

'It was a really tough decision because I've worked with some of these players for years and years now, since they were 14 or 15,' he continued.

'I've seen them grow, the staff here have always been great for me, the opportunities I've had here, I could never complain at the way I've been treated.

'On a personal level, I got married here, had my first child here so Norfolk as a place as well, starts to feel like home and as a club Norwich City too, so it wasn't an easy decision at all, by any means, but hopefully it will work out well.'

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