Norwich City’s young guns aim to fire against Liverpool’s Under-21s
- Credit: Stefano Gnech/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich's professional development coach Paul Wilkinson is challenging City's youngsters to grab their big chance to impress against Liverpool's Under-21s on Wednesday at Carrow Road (kick-off 7pm).
Harry Toffolo earned a loan move to League One promotion hopefuls Swindon after an eye-catching display in front of a pack of watching scouts in October's 3-1 development win over Tottenham's under-21s watched by more than 10,000 home fans.
City look well on course to top the 7,500 mark this evening, with free entry on offer to watch the club's best emerging talent along with the likes of senior players Ryan Bennett and Mark Bunn who are on the comeback trail after injury.
Wilkinson insists the success of Toffolo and Jacob Murphy at Blackpool should act as a major incentive when City's coaching staff sit down to discuss who is next in line for a loan switch.
'It always has to be a balancing act in terms of who goes out and who stays,' he said. 'We don't do things lightly, we discuss everything from top to bottom.
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'The gaffer has the final say and it is important to put them in the right place. They go from here, where everything is nice and the facilities are excellent, and you go to some places and there is no proper training ground or that don't have this or that and it's a shock to the system for some. It can flip them the other way so you try to get the best of both worlds and put them somewhere where they are going to get an opportunity.
'Carlton (Morris) has just gone to York after being at Oxford, which is important for him to get him back out and get some football. Harry has done terrific at Swindon, Jak the same at Blackpool, and what it does is put in a stepping stone in their career for all those boys.'
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Cameron McGeehan will be on Norwich duty against the Reds this evening but the midfielder made it clear during the build-up he is prepared for a fresh loan stint after a successful spell at Luton last season.
'I think that is all part of his development,' said Wilkinson. 'He went out to Luton and that was a good experience and sometimes when you have been away and come back it takes a while to get back into the speed of it. He'll be looking in January and if something comes along that is right for him and the club then we have to assess it.
'We have three our four out at the moment and they are all doing well at their respective clubs. We've had them all watched and it can only help stand them and us in good stead for the future.'
The former Sheffield Wednesday assistant boss has been impressed by City's academy set-up since joining the club earlier this season.
'I am enjoying it. This is a great job, it is very rewarding and I know my role is to get players into the first team,' he said. 'I work very closely with Gilly (Jerry Gill) and Murts (Graeme Murty) at the younger age groups and it's all about finding that correct pathway. With Neil and Holty (Gary Holt) they have been on this side of the board and they know what is required and hopefully we can push a few more through.
'To be fair to the group we have at development level they have been great, they have a fantastic attitude. They have obviously known each other for four, five, six years and that always helps. It is good one or two have gone out on loan because that gives them all a positive signal that if they can't get in here there is opportunities elsewhere. When lads go out and do well clubs will look at us and probably feel maybe we have one or two more who are ready to go out.'