Williams’ kids are all right

CHRIS WISE Dedicated young footballers who won't let an early taste of first-team action go to their heads.That's how Norwich City youth coach David Williams described teenage trio Rossi Jarvis, Michael Spillane and Andrew Cave-Brown as they prepared for the possibility of another run-out.

CHRIS WISE

Dedicated young footballers who won't let an early taste of first-team action go to their heads.

That's how Norwich City youth coach David Williams described teenage trio Rossi Jarvis, Michael Spillane and Andrew Cave-Brown as they prepared for the possibility of another run-out.

Jarvis marked his elevation to the paid ranks by making his full debut in last week's FA Cup clash against West Ham, having already made four appearances from the bench.

And Academy scholars Spillane and Cave-Brown came on as late substitutes in the same game to take a first tentative step along the road towards becoming a professional, with Spillane becoming City's second youngest player of all-time at 16 years and 290 days.

With manager Nigel Worthington still short of numbers due to injuries and unavailability there's every chance they will be involved again this afternoon when the Canaries take on Plymouth at Home Park, so these are exciting, and at the same time testing, times for the fresh-faced trio.

Most Read

But the club's youth and technical director David Williams is confident they will rise to the challenges that lie ahead - both on and off the pitch.

“There is always the worry that a youngster might get carried away in these sort of circumstances,” admitted Williams. “But I think these lads have got enough intelligence about them to keep it all in perspective.

“Yes, it's a fantastic step to have made, but it is just a small step towards a successful career. The hard work that has got them to this stage needs to be maintained.

“They have all got a good work ethic and a good attitude to training and if they follow that through they should get the success they desire.

“One thing is for sure. There's no way they will be bragging to their mates about playing in the first team. They are not like that - in common with all the young players here they have got their feet firmly on the ground.”

Ex-Canary Williams, who didn't make his professional debut until he was 20, has had a big hand in the progress of all three players, having worked with them closely since returning to Carrow Road just over 18 months ago

Responsibility for Jarvis' development has now been handed over to Nigel Worthington and his management team, but Spillane and Cave-Brown are still with the Academy and, according to their coach, have fully earned their little taste of the big-time.

“Both lads have worked extremely hard in the time they have been here,” he said.

“When they have had the chance to play reserve team football in front of the manager, or to train with the first team, they have both made a good impression.

“Michael has only been with the Academy for six months or so but has already trained with the first team while Andy, who is a bit older, has progressed steadily since joining us from Charlton and took part in the pre-season tour to Holland. So there was a degree of trust and confidence that they could go out there and do a job.

“Unfortunately I was with the under-16 team watching some triallists in action last weekend so I wasn't at Carrow Read to see their debuts but from what I have been told they both did reasonably well when they were on the pitch. Now they have got to build on this.”

Unless you are a regular attender of Norwich reserve and Academy matches the chances are that you won't know too much about the two new faces in the first team picture - so Williams was happy to fill in a few details for supporters.

“Michael hasn't turned 17 yet so he has got tremendous potential,” he said. “For such a young player he has got a very good build while he has also got great pace and a good competitive attitude.

“I would say his best position was centre back but he has got the versatility to be able to go into the middle of the park as well if required. He may even be able to play full-back at times because he has got that footballing intelligence about him which means he can look equally at home in several positions.

“Andy was unfortunate enough not to be offered a scholarship at his first club Charlton - cast-off is the wrong word - and we gave him an opportunity which, so far, he has grabbed with both hands. He is a versatile player with a fantastic attitude who can play in both full-back positions and centre back and he has also played on the right-hand side of midfield on occasions. He is a good defender, but he also got the energy to get forward as well.”