Norwich City’s young guns are challenged to kick on
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's development coach Mark Robson insists the club's highly-rated young talent hold the key to their own futures.
Many of last season's victorious FA Youth Cup winning squad have now progressed into Robson's pool competing in this season's inaugural Under-21 development league. Josh and Jacob Murphy have both made first team breakthroughs in recent months with Jacob Murphy now on loan at League One Swindon. FA Youth Cup winning captain Cameron McGeehan yesterday extended his loan spell at Conference Premier leaders Luton until the end of the season and Robson is challenging the next generation to build on last year's notable success to try and force their way into Chris Hughton's future plans.
City's youngsters slipped to a disappointing 1-0 development league defeat last week against West Brom at Carrow Road and Robson is urging them not to let their standards drop.
'We have a good group of players and they have to start expressing themselves because we are a Premier League club and we want to breed players who can knock on the door of the first team,' said Robson, pictured below. 'You want to encourage a winning mentality. Yes, we are developing these players but there has to be a winning element about it. You have to be a winner and show that desire on the pitch. Against West Brom we didn't have that. They wanted it more than us and you could see that. We looked lethargic and didn't get out of the traps, but I have really enjoyed my first few months here. There are some good people at the football club and it is nice to go into training and work with good people. We have a nice bunch of lads and we will look to put things right in the next games.'
City's emerging talent defend their Norfolk Senior Cup crown next month with a semi-final trip to Thurlow Nunn Premier Division neighbours Gorleston.
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'It is a good chance for some of our really young players to come up against men,' said Robson. 'You can learn a lot from putting them into that environment and we have certainly learned from the previous two rounds. It is another game and an opportunity to see how they cope with the mental side of things like perhaps playing against more physically developed players or even on difficult playing surfaces. To get through to a final is a big game.
'It is an opportunity to show what they have got. You look at Ray (Grant) who came in at Cromer and kept his place in the side for the West Brom game and I thought he did well again.'
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• McGeehan has also been included in Northern Ireland's Under-21 squad to face Italy in Belfast on March 5 after extending his Luton stay until April 26. The 18-year-old's original 28-day spell expired after last weekend's 7-0 romp against Hereford.