Steven Naismith’s influential efforts praised by City U23s boss Matt Gill

Steven Naismith swapped Norwich City for a loan move to Hearts. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Image

Steven Naismith swapped Norwich City for a loan move to Hearts. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Steven Naismith's impact for Norwich City Under-23s was praised by development squad coach Matt Gill after his team's 4-3 victory over Newcastle.

The thriller at Colney on Sunday saw Newcastle hit back after each of Naismith's goals in the first half, before the visitors took the lead just before the break.

Tristan Abrahams had crossed for the first of those goals, before winning the penalty from which Todd Cantwell made it 3-3 early in the second half. The former Leyton Orient striker then saw Naismith return the favour by setting him up for the winner and his seventh goal of the campaign.

'It was a great finish after a great run,' Gill said. 'He's benefited from having Steven in there, who has been outstanding for the young players. It's helped to drive the lads on.

'Todd Cantwell has spent a lot of time around the first team now, but even as a young professional, he can learn from that. It's ideal for their learning.'

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While Naismith has spoken openly about his likely Carrow Road exit this month, amid speculation linking him with Scottish clubs Rangers and Hearts, the likes of Abrahams and Cantwell are now on a five-match unbeaten run with City's U23s, with the win following a 3-1 victory away to Stoke City last Monday.

'We started the game really well and were purposeful with everything we did,' Gill continued, speaking to City's official website.

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'We went 1-0 up, rightly so, then stopped doing what was getting us joy. That allowed them back into the game, so to go in 3-2 behind was disappointing.

'However, the lads showed real character in the second half in wanting to get on the ball. The two goals came from really good, purposeful football.

'I'm really chuffed we got those goals, and for Tristan Abrahams to get the winner.'