Cantwell and Lewis have given City academy starlets fresh first-team focus
PUBLISHED: 17:54 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:54 24 January 2018
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The emergence of Jamal Lewis and Todd Cantwell has provided fresh impetus for Norwich City's academy hopefuls, after seeing the talented duo break into the Canaries first team.
Lewis has made seven appearances and impressed as a left wing-back, scoring his first goal in dramatic style during City’s FA Cup replay at Chelsea, when Cantwell made his debut.
The Norfolk-born playmaker followed that high-profile first appearance at Stamford Bridge with a last-minute winner for the under-23s on Monday, firing a fine shot from the edge of the box to earn a 1-0 win over Bournemouth at Carrow Road.
“Ultimately it’s about individuals and their progression, the team’s results are secondary really,” City’s U23s head coach Matt Gill said after his team’s Premier League Cup group stage victory.
“It’s about who’s going to be next, who’s going to be next to train with the first team, who can we push, are we making sure we’re exposing the lads to the right sort of stuff?
“So my work is more individual and, yes I set them in some kind of team structure, but they’re doing the stuff they need to do to get into that first-team dressing room or to go out on loan and play league football.”
With U23s midfielder Adam Phillips now playing in League Two with Cambridge and the likes of Ben Godfrey, Carlton Morris, Louis Ramsay and Michee Efete also out on loan, Gill’s squad is constantly evolving.
Cantwell could well be next in line for that experience but 19-year-old goalkeeper Aston Oxborough is covering first-team players Angus Gunn and Michael McGovern.
Oxborough, who has previously represented England at U16 and U17 level, is training with Daniel Farke’s senior squad after Remi Matthews and Paul Jones went out on loan to Plymouth and Exeter respectively.
“Aston is in a real good place,” Gill added, after seeing his team stretch their unbeaten run to six games.
“He’s been working hard with Tom (Weal, academy keeper coach) and also Ed Wooton, the first-team goalie coach, and has done really well.
“Ever since I came in this time last year with the 23s group he’s been excellent, really pleased, a great save early on, so really chuffed that he kept a clean sheet.”