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Weaver vows past academy success won’t make life easy for Norwich City starlets

Norwich City academy manager Steve Weaver opens up over the current state of play at Colney. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Norwich City academy manager Steve Weaver opens up over the current state of play at Colney. Picture: Sonya Duncan

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

Norwich City’s academy has been the toast of the club – but still has miles to go to become a real success.

That is the view of academy manager Steve Weaver, who has been in post 18 months and overseen big changes at City’s Colney set-up alongside sporting director Stuart Webber.

This season’s breakthrough acts have include Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell, who have fuelled an incredible first-team rise under head coach Daniel Farke.

But for Weaver, what happens next with City’s youth production line relies far more on current attitudes than previous successes.

“When we came in there were a couple of things we had to do,” said Weaver. “First, create a player pathway and as a club – driven by Delia – we’ve done that. Second, we’ve now got a very clear playing and coaching philosophy.

It's been quite the rise since pre-season for Todd Cantwell (left), Ben Godfrey (second right) and Max Aarons (right) at Norwich City. We may even get to see Felix Passlack against Portsmouth in the FA Cup this weekend. Picture: Focus ImagesIt's been quite the rise since pre-season for Todd Cantwell (left), Ben Godfrey (second right) and Max Aarons (right) at Norwich City. We may even get to see Felix Passlack against Portsmouth in the FA Cup this weekend. Picture: Focus Images

“I’ve just shown a video of our under-13s doing the exact same thing the first team; a goal we scored with about 30 passes. We’ve rolled it out that this is the way we play, the way we coach, and it’s lovely to see the reactions of people who don’t usually see it.

“Those two factors are the successes for us so far – but that’s it. The rest isn’t there. We’ve made great strides – but it’s nowhere near the level we would want to be.”

Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey have also made a success of their jump from Colney to first-team minutes – completing a quartet that has taken different routes to senior football, with so many influences through years of development at either at Norwich or elsewhere.

Now Weaver is only worried about who follows the same route – more pertinently, who has the attitude and hunger to do it.

“A lot of people are saying nice things, which is lovely. But as I sit here, I probably feel the opposite. Probably more insecure than I should. Praise can also bring on complacency,” added Weaver.

“I see it sometimes. I told a group of 45 players the other day I don’t think their standards are good enough, that weren’t looking after their digs, not doing everything well enough, that they should not associate Max’s success with themselves.

“We do have to ensure some of the things going on with the first team goes on with everything at the academy, like that strive to be the best. But we are miles away from being the best.

“And we see that. Stuart, Daniel, Delia – we are all very keen on that, we are making progress and it’s certainly achievable. But we’re still a long way off where we want to be.”

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

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