Farke's fledglings: How City chief moulded the next generation for Canaries

Max Aarons has emerged as a key figure for Daniel Farke at Norwich City. But can the Canaries hold o

Max Aarons has emerged as a key figure for Daniel Farke at Norwich City. But can the Canaries hold onto him? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ask any football manager about youth and they will tell you that they ‘believe’ in it. 

But actions speak louder than words and it takes an element of courage for any manager or head coach to turn to a young player and entrust them with the responsibility of performing at the top level under immense pressure. 

Daniel Farke has shown time and again his aptitude for picking the right moment to blood a young player and the way he handles his young stars has become one of the hallmarks of his City tenure so far. 

Here’s a look at his City success stories so far... 

James Maddison returns to Norwich City on Friday Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

James Maddison returns to Norwich City on Friday Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

James Maddison 

First appearance under Farke: August 5, 2017: Fulham 1 Norwich City 1 

James Maddison was the star of an underwhelming first season at the helm for Daniel Farke. 

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Fourteen goals and the player of the year award for the 2017/18 season marked Maddison out as City’s saviour in more ways than one. But it is easy to forget that Maddison was a peripheral member of City’s squad when Farke arrived with his future very much up in the air.  

Another loan move had been discussed but Farke could see the former Coventry man’s potential and built the side around his creativity. Maddison was in a class of his own in the Championship, earning a multi-million pound move to Leicester, which helped secure Norwich’s financial future. 

Max Aarons of Norwich City

Max Aarons - set to return for Norwich City against Huddersfield after being rested for the Good Friday game at Preston North End - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Max Aarons 

First appearance under Farke: August 14, 2018: Norwich City 3 Stevenage 1 

Max Aarons signed his first professional contract in the summer of 2018 and, arguably, no-one expected the youngster to make the progress he has since.  

He made his debut in the Carabao Cup against Stevenage but he was really thrown in at the deep end when Daniel Farke gave Aarons his first Championship start away at Ipswich. A mature performance in a 1-1 draw at Portman Road was the catalyst for a season that would end in glory with the Championship title.  

Aarons’ standing in the City squad has grown exponentially since and despite still only being 21, he is now seen as one of the leaders in the City dressing room. Earned a huge amount of credit this season for the way he didn't allow his performance levels to drop despite talk of a move to Barcelona last summer. Destined for big things. 

Graeme Shinnie of Derby County and Todd Cantwell of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championshi

Cantwell's future dominated much of the pre-season debate. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Todd Cantwell 

First appearance under Farke: August 14, 2018: Norwich City 3 Stevenage 1 

Loans manager Neil Adams deserves his fair share of the credit for invigorating a career, which was at a crossroads before a loan move to Dutch second tier side Fortuna Sittard. Cantwell flourished outside of his Norfolk comfort zone and returned a player Farke could trust in the first team environment. He made 24 appearances in the 2018/19 title winning season and was one of the few players to emerge from the Premier League campaign with any credit, scoring seven goals in 37 top-flight appearances. A rocky start to the current campaign with a move to Leeds United mooted made way for clear-the-air talks with Farke and he has been central to City’s success this season ever since. 

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke helped turn Ben Godfrey into one of the most highly-rated centre backs in England

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke helped turn Ben Godfrey into one of the most highly-rated centre backs in England - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ben Godfrey 

First appearance under Farke: August 14, 2018: Norwich City 3 Stevenage 1 

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted he didn’t quite appreciate just how good Ben Godfrey is after parting with the best part of £25m last summer. City fans knew.  

After returning from a successful loan spell at Shrewsbury where he was primarily played as a central midfielder, Farke moved him to the heart of City’s defence and he never looked back. 

His ability to bring the ball out from the back and a competitive will that few youngsters can match are exactly the kind of qualities Farke looks for in his defenders.  

Godfrey was immovable in the second half of the Championship winning side alongside Christoph Zimmermann and showed enough in the Premier League campaign to convince Everton to part with a huge fee last summer. A real Farke success story. 

Jamal Lewis has joined Newcastle United on a five-year deal after seeing a move to Liverpool collaps

Jamal Lewis has joined Newcastle United on a five-year deal after seeing a move to Liverpool collapse earlier this summer. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Jamal Lewis 

First appearance under Farke: December 22, 2017: Norwich City 1 Brentford 2 

The original Farke Fledgling... Farke admitted when Lewis’ £15m move to Newcastle was sealed he had a tear in his eye, such is his affection for the left-back. Lewis was unexpectedly given his first start on Boxing Day, 2017, away at Birmingham and his athleticism was a welcome addition to the City backline.  

His ability to patrol the left flank marked him out as one to watch by several Premier League clubs. Lewis will always be fondly remembered by City fans for his extra time strike against Chelsea in the FA Cup and scoring the last goal in front of a packed Carrow Road in the 1-0 win against Leicester City. 


Adam Idah 

First appearance under Farke: August 27, 2019: Crawley 1 Norwich City 1 

Farke gave an insight into how demanding he can be on City’s youngsters after Adam Idah came off the bench to score the only goal in the season opener at Huddersfield.  

Farke revealed the young striker had a rocket from his head coach in the week for not being as focused as he should be in training. It prompted the right response from Idah, who is very highly thought of at Carrow Road after signing a new deal in December until 2024.  

Idah properly made his entrance last season in the FA Cup win at Preston when he scored a hat-trick but a succession of injuries (hamstring/foot/hernia) and a bout of Covid has restricted his involvement this campaign. 

Andrew Omobamidele 

First appearance under Farke: January 16, 2021: Norwich City 2 Cardiff City 1 

The new kid on the block. When Christoph Zimmermann was ruled out with a hamstring strain in the wake of Ben Gibson’s season-ending ankle injury, some fans went into panic mode. Farke merely used it as the moment to blood Omobamidele and the young Irishman has slotted in seamlessly at the heart of City’s back four.  

Only Preston’s late equaliser has breached the backline with Omobamidele in tow with comparisons already being made with a young Rio Ferdinand. Farke will be keeping Omobamidele’s feet on the ground but even at this early stage it looks distinctly possible City have mined another diamond. 

Bali Mumba 

First appearance under Farke: September 5, 2020: Luton Town 3 Norwich City 1 

Brought in last summer for an undisclosed fee from Sunderland and it is fair to say not too many people expected much of a first team impact given Mumba spent much of last season on loan at non-league South Shields.  

However, Farke saw enough early on to introduce Mumba into a pivotal game against promotion rivals Swansea at Carrow Road when introducing the full back as a substitute.  

Mumba played a key role in Marco Stiepermann’s late winner and looks to have the qualities Farke looks for in his full backs. Widely accepted to be Aarons’ heir at right back. 

Josh Martin 

First appearance under Farke: June 18, 2020: Norwich City 0 Southampton 3 

Martin has kicked on from academy football this season to become a genuine offensive option for Farke. Made a big impact as a substitute against Swansea and scored a crucial equaliser after coming off the bench against Sheffield Wednesday before Max Aarons’ winner.  

Martin has found first team opportunities harder to come by of late but has earned Farke’s trust in important situations. Will be interesting to see what the summer holds for the former Arsenal youngster and if Farke sees him as part of his Premier League plans. 

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