Ipswich Town youth chief is not jealous of Norwich City’s academy

Ipswich Town academy chief Bryan Klug is confident his club can still compete with Norwich City's yo

Ipswich Town academy chief Bryan Klug is confident his club can still compete with Norwich City's youth set-up. Picture: James Ager - Credit: Archant

Ipswich academy director Bryan Klug insists he is not jealous of Norwich City's status as the premier youth set-up in East Anglia.

The Canaries are the only category one ranked academy in the region, which allows City to recruit talented youngsters from across the country.

Klug was credited with developing the likes of Kieron Dyer, Richard Wright and Titus Bramble at Portman Road in the 1990s and the Town chief is confident a new era is underway with Teddy Bishop and Matt Clarke forcing their way into first team contention under Mick McCarthy.

Klug believes bridging that gap to the Canaries' impressive youth set-up is only going to get harder in the future.

The rivals last week announced their under-16s will revive the tradition of the old Hospital Cup battles between the two clubs in a one-off charity game next month.

Former Norwich academy product Ben Wyatt linked up with Ipswich last summer following his release from the Canaries, but Klug does not expect a talent drain in the opposite direction.

'They get all their players out of London,' he claimed in an interview with the East Anglian Daily Times. 'If people are from this area and they have to choose then they choose to come here. Norwich spend a lot of money, and they're doing it very well, but when their under-16s play us at Portman Road in the Hospital Cup next month you'll see that they have a lot of London boys and we have more local lads.

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'It's about reputation and opportunity. Most weeks we now have four or five homegrown players in the first team squad. I think young players and parents realise that there's a clear pathway here, more so than the majority of other clubs. That's our strong point. It always has been. We get people like Teddy (Bishop) in at eight or nine and see them all the way through. That's how I want to do it.

'Our indications are that the bar is getting higher and the expectation is that you have to be really heavily investing. Rightly or wrongly, that's the way it's going. It's kind of getting more difficult for us to obtain Category One, in my opinion.

'We're waiting for the full conditions to come out. The bar is being raised all the time in terms of what's needed regarding staff and facilities, so we're just waiting to see what the criteria is this time around and then we'll make a decision as to whether to go for it or not.'