Mum's pride in talented sons

CHRIS WISE Proud mum Polly Jarvis spoke of her pride yesterday after seeing another of her sons start at a game for Norwich City's first team before his 18th birthday.


Proud mum Polly Jarvis spoke of her pride yesterday after seeing another of her sons start at a game for Norwich City's first team before his 18th birthday.

Defender Rossi followed in the footsteps of striker Ryan at the weekend when he turned out for the Canaries in their FA Cup third round tie against West Ham United.

The senior Jarvis sibling remains the youngest City player of all time, having made his debut as a substitute at Walsall in April, 2003 when he was just 16 years and 280 days old - but his 17-year-old brother is also starting young, and gave a good account of himself against the Hammers, despite being given a hard time by in-form winger Matthew Etherington.

Polly was there to witness Rossi's big day with husband Neil, having missed his debut as a substitute at Birmingham back in October, and was pleased with what she saw - even though her younger son ended up on the losing side.

“It was tough for him at the start but I thought he settled as the game went on and did really well,” she said. “Rossi has been playing in midfield recently so it took time for him to adjust and I don't think he will come up against as good a left winger as that again for a little while.

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“It was a shame he finished on the losing side and when I spoke to him afterwards he was disappointed with the result. But he said he loved every minute of the game - and now he wants some more!

“I was just glad to be there. We actually missed both their debuts - Ryan's at Walsall and Rossi's at Birmingham. We didn't think they would be playing in those games so we didn't make the trip - but there was no way we were going to miss this one!”

With the Fakenham siblings having both started a game for the first team they are now on target to become the first brothers to play alongside each other in the same City side since Arthur and Reginald Cropper in the late 1920s. Jarvis senior will have to shrug off a niggling knee injury before that becomes a tantalising possibility - but there's every chance it will happen at some time in the not too distant future, and it's a prospect that excites their mum.

“To see them play together would be a very proud moment for Neil and myself,” she said. “Ryan's had a few injury problems this season, which has been frustrating for him, but hopefully he will be back challenging for a place soon along with Rossi.

“As for having two sons in the first team squad, I haven't given it too much thought really because both of them have been with Norwich for some time now. It's just seems like the norm. But I suppose one of these days I will take a step back and say “Yes, it is quite a big achievement.”

Polly is rightly proud of her boys, and is delighted that two very different characters have both come through their formative years at Colney training ground with flying colours to earn themselves professional contracts.

“There will always be a connection of course because they are brothers but I hope both of them will be judged on their own merits, and won't be compared to each other all the time,” she said.

“The one similarity is that they are both very competitive. There is only 20 months between them and there has always been a rivalry there. You certainly used to see that when they played tennis together - neither of them wanted to lose, that's for sure.

“But they are different characters. Rossi is a bit like me, rather fiery, and Ryan is a bit more laid back, like his dad.

“Rossi has always had a belief in himself, right from a very young age. No matter how good the opposition were, how big they were, he would always be looking forward to the game - and would be confident he would do a good job for the side.

“There were times when people used to say Rossi only got on because he was Ryan's brother. That was nonsense of course - and I am delighted Rossi has gone on to prove them wrong.

“There is one thing I can definitely say about both of my boys and that is that they are both equally proud of each other's achievements. There is no jealously there at all.”