Stiepermann scores for City U23s as he steps up virus recovery
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Marco Stiepermann continued his recovery from a debilitating virus that has limited his game time this season by signing off his time with the Under 23s with a goal.
The German midfielder netted as City ran out 3-0 victors over Middlesbrough's youngsters, with Stiepermann's second-half spot-kick putting the Canaries ahead. Goals from Rob Nizet and Josh Giurgi made the win more convincing, with David Wright's side winning their first game of the year.
Daniel Farke said Stiepermann would return to the first-team group on Monday providing he received the all-clear after battling Epstein-Barr virus, an illness that attacks the immune system.
The road to recovery has been prolonged for the influential German, who was a pivotal figure during their title-winning season two years ago.
Mario Vrancic has been operating as a number ten, but has failed to replicate the kind of offensive productivity Stiepermann displayed. Kieran Dowell's own fitness has prevented him from kick-starting his City career.
Wright hailed the impact of the experienced German, who has raised the standards of his side, he claimed after the match on Teeside.
“Stiepi’s a great person,” Wright told the club's official website. “For him to come into the group, he’s been a pleasure to work with and it’s great for the boys to play with someone like him.
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“We talk about the standards in the first team and what it takes to get there, but sometimes it’s hard to understand that until you see the standard first hand. That gives them a better idea.
“For Stiepi it was 90 minutes that were really important for him and his recovery and he had 60 in the last game, so hopefully for him he’ll be closer to moving back into first team contention.”
Stiepermann also had a hand in a beautifully crafted second goal that was finished off by young left-back Nizet, who unleashed a piledriver into the top right corner after a slick passing move from City's youngsters.
The Canaries are keen for their youth sides to replicate the philosophy of the first team, and Wright believes it displays the qualities of his side in possession.
“We say to the boys all the time that to play the way we want to play you need to play with courage. You have to be comfortable being pressed and the ability to play through that.
“Our second goal was excellent. It ticks all the boxes we’d like our boys to have when in possession.”