Premier League International Cup preview: Norwich City starlets urged to use rout as a springboard
- Credit: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Limited
Norwich City Under-23s will look to build on their sensational Checkatrade Trophy display at Peterborough when they kickstart their latest European adventure.
The young Canaries destroyed Posh 6-1 on their own turf to get their Football League Trophy campaign off to a flier a week ago. And boss Dimitri Halajko is hoping that showing can provide confidence ahead of tonight's home Premier League International Cup opener against Spanish giants Valencia (Mestalla).
'It was a good performance both collectively and individually. I think the senior boys, who are young pros and have been in and around the first team, showed their quality,' said Halajko.
'Some of the younger ones who maybe haven't played that type of level before stepped up. For us it (the competition) is excellent. It gave our young players a real, real valuable experience playing against a good, good team. Peterborough have started well in League One, it was a good test, and we had to be at our very best to get something out of the game.
'The lads will be taking this performance and, hopefully, moving on from it – whether they're the younger ones or one of the more senior ones. In football if you have good performances it only pushes you further towards whatever your goal is.
'Every player in the dressing room has got their own individual pathway, or goal, and are at different points in their career. I think the performance at Peterborough can only have helped them get towards wherever they want to go.'
Two of the goalscorers from that midweek rout – hat-trick hero, and overage player, Tony Andreu and James Maddison – have since left the club for loan spells north of the border. Harry Toffolo also secured a temporary move away from Carrow Road less than 24 hours after helping City hit Posh for six.
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Their presence will no doubt be missed when the yellows pit their wits against some of the finest young talent that the continent has to offer.
But a host of the Canaries' hottest prospects will still be available with three overage players, and an overage goalkeeper, also eligible to feature.
Frontman Carlton Morris may well have done enough to keep his place despite not netting against Peterborough while Ben Killip's excellent showing, and penalty save, could see him line up between the posts against the La Liga club.
'Carlton is a strong boy, he takes in the ball well, holds it in, runs the channel and has definitely benefited from his loan experience,' added the boss of Norwich's development squad, who will also play Aston Villa and Celtic as they attempt to progress to the knockout phase.
'I've certainly seen a difference since he's come back. Whenever he's trained and played with us he's been absolutely superb. Ben's been frustrated recently because he's had a couple of penalties that he hasn't saved. So you could see the kind of relief and excitement on his face when he did save it (on Tuesday) because he's been beating himself up a little bit about not being as good at that side of his game.
'He showed composure at playing out from the back, concentration right to the very last minute, and showed how much it means to him.'
A host of City starlets already have experience of playing in the competition. Last season they were knocked out in the group stages of the 24-team event having won one (Villareal, 1-0) and lost two (Leicester 2-1 and PSV 3-0) of their matches.
Entry for the match, which kicks off at 7pm, is free. Tickets can be claimed by by calling 0844 826 1902.