'No doubt he has got good talent' – Norwich prospect facing uphill battle at Cambridge
PUBLISHED: 12:49 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:49 23 March 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
Cambridge boss Joe Dunne has no doubt about the talent of Norwich City midfielder Adam Phillips but admits the youngster faces a touch task to force his way back into their team.
The 20-year-old had started four of the last five games until head coach Shaun Derry left following a 0-0 home draw with Lincoln in early February.
He has since barely featured with Dunne in interim charge of the League Two side, featuring as an unused substitute in three of the last seven games, of which Cambridge have won three and drawn two.
“The situation at the moment is with the form some players have been in, it’s been hard for him to get into the squad,” Dunne explained ahead of Saturday’s long trip to mid-table rivals Carlisle.
“No doubt he has got good talent. No doubt he can play, where I feel he is a creator of things. But I’ve got other players who I think are playing well at the moment and are ahead of him, and that’s just a footballing decision that I’ve had to make.
“He’s been good and comes in and trains when he’s with us; and when he’s not he goes to Norwich and I think we’ve got a good relationship with Norwich at the moment.”
The former England U16s international joined the Canaries last summer after leaving Liverpool, despite interest from Watford and West Ham, after his progress for the Reds had been hampered by a back fracture.
He was soon installed as U23s captain after impressing with his range of passing and set-pieces. However, he has been back at City to play in development games recently due to his lack of action with Cambridge – where he remains on loan until the end of the season.
“We’re trying to make sure his development is right. It’s tough for him,” said Dunne, speaking to Cambridge Independent. “We’re getting more senior players back fit so it’s hard, as it would be for anybody coming in at his age to a club.
“It’s his first loan and for some players, you need to find your first loan, use it as an experience and then if he finds himself in another situation with a second loan or third loan then he is in a stronger position.
“He has to gain as many experiences as he can while he is here and he has done that. We have good communications with Norwich and it’s important that he keeps learning.”