While Norwich City exceeded expectations last season their under-18 side were also crowned FA Youth Cup winners in a memorable season for the club.
After the television exposure of some of their fantastic young talent City fans were excited at seeing some of the squad break through into the first team but manager Chris Hughton had other ideas. Grant Holt was let go and over £30 million was spent in the transfer window including the club record purchase of Ricky van Wolfswinkel and the addition of attacking talents like Gary Hooper, Nathan Redmond and Leroy Fer. The club have not really seen a return on the investment though as they sit in the relegation zone a quarter of the way into the season.
A measly return of just six league goals in their opening nine fixtures has seen Norwich fans questioning Hughtons purchases while the clubs youngsters continue to do well. Joshua Murphy was finally given his first-team debut in the Capital One cup when the Canaries were 2-0 down to Watford and within ten minutes of being on the field had scored his first senior goal as Norwich then went on to win the fixture in extra-time. Since then his involvement with the first-team has been restricted to one appearance on the bench as an unused substitute. Young striker Carlton Morris has been called into the England under-19 squad this season, coming off the bench to win both of his caps and scoring in both games. Young defender Harry Toffolo who looks equally comfortable at left-back or centre-back makes up the trio of youngsters currently representing the succesful England under-19 squad. Last seasons under-18s captain Cameron McGeehan is another player close to first-team action. The lively central midfielder showed nerves of steel to score from the spot in both legs of the FA Youth Cup final last year, add to this Joshua Murphys twin brother Jacob who has already been capped for England at under-18 and under-19 level and the future certainly looks bright for the club.
This weekends goalless draw with Cardiff City saw Norwich field a side that did not include a single player that has progressed throught their succesful youth system. The Capital One Cup resumes on Tuesday night for The Canaries with a trip to Old Trafford. Norwich have already scored nine goals in the competition and after the heroics of Joshua Murphy in the last round he will be pressing for a place in the starting eleven.
Will Hughton stick with the side that are failing him in the Premier League or will he throw a couple of youngsters into the squad???
Written by Andy Lucraft-Townley