Can Norwich City enjoy similar youth academy success to Southampton in the future?

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale is one of the many success stories of Southampton's academy. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki) Real Madrid's Gareth Bale is one of the many success stories of Southampton's academy. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
6:25 AM

Southampton’s academy has produced over £100m of talent in the past decade, David Freezer looks at the inspiration Norwich City can take from the Saints ahead of their Premier League clash.

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Southampton's Adam Lallana celebrates scoring for Southampton. Picture: Clive Gee/PA Wire.Southampton's Adam Lallana celebrates scoring for Southampton. Picture: Clive Gee/PA Wire.

Norwich City’s academy system has come on leaps and bounds in recent years but this weekend the Canaries come up against a club with an academy which is the envy of the entire Premier League.

Youth products Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse are all likely to figure for the Saints when Chris Hughton’s side visit St Mary’s on Saturday.

While City’s Under-18s lifted the FA Youth Cup last season to provide the club’s academy set-up an extremely welcome boost, the Canaries still have some way to go to match Southampton’s output.

Their south coast production line has not only produced the likes of Arsenal and England stars Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the world’s most expensive footballer, Gareth Bale.

Norwich City’s recent academy products

Chris Martin – Arguably the most successful Norwich City academy graduate of the past decade is currently one of the top scorers in the Championship with 15 league goals, after joining Derby County on a free transfer last summer. Martin made 117 first-team appearances for City, scoring 34 goals, and was a key part of Paul Lambert’s team which dragged the club out of League One and into the Premier League.

Jason Shackell – The big centre-back came to the fore during City’s Premiership relegation battle in the 2004/05 season and went on to make over 130 appearances before joining Wolves for an estimated £1m in 2008. Came back for a loan spell at Carrow Road at the end of the 2008/09 season and, despite impressing, couldn’t help City avoid relegation. After establishing himself as a Championship defender at Barnsley and Derby County, he is now captain of 
promotion hopefuls Burnley.

Korey Smith – The hard-working midfielder played 40 times in his first full season as a professional, helping City to win the League One title. Ultimately fell victim to the club’s rapid rise to the Premier League though and wasn’t able to remain part of the club’s senior side. Released last summer after a series of loan moves, the 23-year-old has played 42 times for League One side Oldham this season.

Tom Adeyemi – Once a star of the Colney academy, Adeyemi is now establishing himself in the Championship at the age of 22 with Birmingham City, having played 33 times for the Blues so far this season. Famed locally for gaining A* A-levels in biology and chemistry and an A in mathematics at the Norwich School, turning down an unconditional offer from Cambridge University to focus on becoming a professional footballer.

Josh Murphy – The next big hope to emerge from Colney. Along with twin brother Jacob, the 19-year-old helped the club’s Under-18s win the FA Youth Cup last season and forced his way into first-team contention with a debut goal in the Capital One Cup earlier this season. Has gone on to make eight appearances as a substitute, as well as started two FA Cup games.

The Welsh superstar’s £86m move to Real Madrid last summer means the Southampton academy is responsible for producing well over £100m of talent in the past decade.

It is something bosses at Carrow Road, and every other Premier League club, can only sit back, admire and do their best to try and take inspiration from.

Lallana and Shaw both played for England in their friendly win against Denmark last week, with senior Saints stars Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert, who cut their teeth at other clubs, also in the squad. Ward-Prowse is also already a fixture for the England Under-21s.

The club has invested £30m in its Marchwood training base and former chairman Nicola Cortese, who surprisingly left the club at the end of 2013, had been determined to strengthen the club’s youth system.

Cortese often cited Barcelona’s La Masia academy when talking about his hopes for the system, saying: “The 
academy is very important to become a sustainable business. We would want to see a starting XI in the Premier League that is fed from our youth development.”

The Saints followed a very similar path to the Premier League as the Canaries, with Nigel Adkins guiding the club out of League One and to immediate promotion out of the Championship, just as Paul Lambert did with City.

What the Saints have that City don’t of course, is a billionaire owner.

Swiss entrepreneur Markus Liebherr saved the club from administration in 2009 but died in August 2010, leaving the club and his fortune to his daughter, Katharina, who has succeeded Cortese as chairman.

What City do have though is Category One status for their academy, as they embrace the new Elite Player Performance Plan methods of developing players.

If Colney Training Centre can become the conveyor belt of talent that Marchwood has for Southampton, the money invested in gaining that Category One status will be more than worth it – and you can take that from a man who knows, England manager Roy Hodgson.

“Southampton are becoming a very good club, as far as England are concerned, in terms of providing players. We like what we see there,” Hodgson said last November.

“(Nathaniel) Clyne is always in our thoughts, Ward-Prowse and Shaw are outstanding ­individuals, you have ­(England Under-19 captain Callum) Chambers and other academy players who are very interesting.

“It’s a little bit easier, if you’re outside the top four or five, to give a young, 
home-grown player a chance.”

Southampton’s recent academy products

Gareth Bale – Sold to Tottenham for £5m in 2007, plus £5m in add-on fees, including a 15pc sell-on clause. However Saints sold the sell-on clause to Spurs for £3m when in financial trouble so only made £2m from Bale’s world-record £86m transfer to Real Madrid last summer.

Theo Walcott – Sold to Arsenal for £5m in 2006, rising to £12.5m, now played over 280 times and scored more than 65 goals for the Gunners. Now 24, Walcott has been capped by England 36 times, scoring six goals.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Sold to Arsenal for £12m in 2011, with a further £3m in add-on fees. Details of his contract leaked last year show that Arsenal still pay Saints £10,000 every time the 20-year-old plays more than 20 minutes for them. Capped 14 times for England so far, scoring three goals.

Adam Lallana – The 25-year-old has shot to national prominence this season as the academy product continued producing excellent Premier League form, to earn him an England debut in a friendly against Chile at Wembley last November. With the 25-year-old’s value easily over £15m at the moment, the creative midfielder looks certain to be part of England’s World Cup squad this summer.

Luke Shaw – The latest starlet off the Southampton conveyor belt is already being touted as the next Gareth Bale and linked with moves to the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United. The left-back may only be 18 but has already played 50 Premier League games, stands strong at 6ft 1ins tall and was handed his senior England debut as a substitute in the recent friendly against Denmark.

What do you think? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below, email norfolksport@archant.co.uk or write to Sports Desk, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE

Follow David Freezer on Twitter @davefreezer

40 comments

  • Barking, hopefully you mean stiff co*ks OR perky t*ts.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • I don't think Burnley will be selling. They may unload him, he is 31, Worthy style, making out he is of no further use to the club. That Ox did look good. Don't know if he is English or not. He looks a darn site better than those dead beats who turned out for England last week (including Rooney).

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • I believe you have a valid point about Josh Murphy, sharky. What`s the `Delboy` connection?? As ever, easily confused. I suppose Holty is an example of a player who enjoyed a late flowering. Not such a crazy shout to be `touted` for England - 15 Prem goals in his first season was good, then Hugh Trollderwood arrived. Ricky Lambert has since done what Holt might have done. Good luck to him.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • The answer to the headline question is no while we have the current management in place. You just have to look at the recent young goalkeeping mismanagement to see why.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Poor lad is a wreck. I imagine it be crushing for anyones partner to cheat on them with a professional football, let alone one that looks and sweats like old Ginger pele! Another random Mattias factoid: My partner is a Manchester Utd fan (nobody is perfect) and a real one at that because she actually lived there most her life. She never stops telling me how in her teenage years she once was in the back of Ryan Giggs brand new Ford Escort when he was making his break through at Utd. shes no longer allowed near professional footballers.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • If you insist on talking Man Utd at the expense of my beloved Norwich City, I prefer to read the stuff about Giggsy's Ford Escort (or Oldtimer's model T Ford), than Brewer's discourse on the "Origins of Man (Utd)". Just saying.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • True, Mattias. It isn`t much to shout about really, is it? I suppose Chris has got his career going again with Derby, albeit in the Championship. He is their top scorer with 18 in all competitions. I saw his sending off last week; very harsh. Martin does seem to have toughened up\muscled up a bit. The way he played indicated that he did learn something from Holty after all. I suppose Derby might be in the Prem next season, via the play-offs. Burnley, skippered by another ex-Canary Jason Shackell, look like they could get automatic promotion. I cannot remember if Jason was an Academy Kid? I suppose not, otherwise Archie would`ve said? Keep it coming, Mattias; despite all the teasing, I think you bring a lot to these discussions.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • PS. Your Time Machine is working well. You once said you were of but 28 Summers. Trying to reconcile the G!ggs factoid. Mrs. Matt would be about 40?? Are you a Child Groom?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • I,ve done alot of work in Academies. Still do. "You found me out Delboy" For what its worth Norwich have the best set of youth players EVER. Its true some can play early in their careers. However its mostly a bit later. For me the boy Murphy is as good as Redmond IMHO, but look whose playing. Its mainly all about opinions.

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Also while I was maybe being a bit cynical with my Martin reference, Jason Shackell was a real favourite of mine! Really solid defender. Glad hes achieving some success. Did a Iwan as well and lost his front teeth while at Barnsley I believe as well.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Yes, Oxlade-Chamberlain is English, Steely. Has 14 Caps already. Didn`t he play in the last exciting friendly vs Denmark? I fell asleep & can`t remember seeing him before Morpheus took me in his arms. I hope Burnley don`t treat Shacks as badly as Norwich treated Malky. He may be one of those players that ripens nicely a bit later than most. From what little I`ve seen of him on the Football League Show, he looks a really uncompromising type of player - without too many `Doherty moments`!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • I think Lambert started at Blackpool before making his name as a goal scorer at Rochdale. If I,m honest I never thought he would make the player he is now. Just proves how wrong we can be sometimes.. Where as Lallana was an obvious talent. It just proves its not always the manager but the men he inherits. IMHO

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Btw, Archie, it`s `Tom Adeyemi`. You got it right in the text, but wrong in the heeder (sic). Try his middle name, it might be easier for you: `Oluseun`.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • A few people mentioned watching the Arsenal game last night. I know this is not the subject of this article, but really surprised at how much "diving" Bayern Munich did. Have not seen this with them before. Is this Guardiola's influence brought from Barcelona who are past masters at the dive?

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Agreed, great post Mattias. Good to mix it up a bit with a few bedroom items, eh?

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • As TK has commented in the past, JS could be an asset to us as a left-footed CB. Big, tough bloke too. Doesn`t time fly by? Jason`s 31 now.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • "Ken Barlow" is innocent, Matt. Your postings have made your age indeterminate. To Blaff I say I make no excuses for making my living wherever I could. Even outside of Norfolk (Shock, Horror). Matt has claimed to be 28 and even if his missus was backseating with Giggsy when he was making his breakthrough, at the National Minimum Age of 16, that`d make her 42. Toy Boy, Matt?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Apologies, Archie, you did mention Shackell`s academy status. Despite my comment being `Inaccurate` you allowed it! Is that a new tactic: drive a contibutor mad with constant obstruction then let an error thro`? Very Machiavellian. Respect. Forgetting the arbitrary 10-year qualification, I would argue that Jason is our most successful recent(ish) Academy product.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Brewer, I think it was Matt's mate's missus who was "escorting" Mr Giggs. Please don't make Mattias any more livid than he already is.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

  • Hi, Blaff. That attempt was very carefully constructed in order not to give offence to the players in the tragi-comedy of `The Doc as Don Juan`. Of course `fowl` was but a chance reference to the male domesticated chicken. I wish our strikers would get in the box and shoot. Lack of penetration. You touched on that subject in your `Lancet` article.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Well said TK. We've both mentioned many times how important a good old fashioned reserve side league is. Not this u21 but 3 other age players can play malarky. Poor Becchio likely hasn't played more than 1 full 90 minutes of any kind of football in over a year! Like TK also says, if a player is good enough they break through what ever age they are and whether there is injuries to the squad or not. I like Josh Murphy but without the injuries I doubt he'd have made any appearances at all. Still time for him to progress. Hopefully if we stay up he can go out on loan somewhere next season like his brother.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • On form there, Blaffen Wijs ;-) Interesting factoid, Mattias. Surprised it got past Archie`s Minders, mind. I suppose `The Doc` was just being his normal self; hands all over the place, then a fowl in the box.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • More money is spent on Viagra and breast enlargement than on Alzheimer's research. By 2040 most people in the UK will have stiff c***ks and perky t**s.......and no idea why. This has nothing to do with the Norwich Academy players.....I just wanted to see if Archie was still in the pub.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • You would never stoop to a spelling mistake with the word "foul\fowl" Gek, so I assume you meant "hands all over the box of the fowl". Whatever you meant, I'm surprised it got past Obergruppenfuhrer Archman. Perhaps he was across the road enjoying the hair of the dog.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Hi, Blaff. That attempt was very carefully constructed in order not to give offence to the players in the tragi-comedy of `The Doc as Don Juan`. Of course `fowl` was but a chance reference to the male domesticated chicken. I wish our strikers would get in the box and shoot. Lack of penetration. You touched on that subject in your `Lancet` article.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • While referees are stupid enough to keep giving free-kicks when they "fall over". Players will keep doing it.

    Report this comment

    sharky

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Its crazy! I remember being in the PL under Worthy screaming out for Shacks to take over from Fleming. The change came and Shacks was brilliant in the remaining games but ultimately it was too late.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • The main purpose of an academy is to make money - either by grooming players to be considered for first team duties or else producing decent players to sell. I agree that Norwich have failed in both areas apart from isolated cases and usually end up sending the m on loan somewhere or giving them away. I can't see that changing much and the mismanagement of young talent will continue.

    Report this comment

    VictorM

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Colin

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Too much information maybe, Mattias? Specially that `breakthrough` in Manchester. I worked there, for a while, at a Watney-owned brewery; Wilson`s of Newton Heath. The birthplace of ManU. Originally a Fire Service team that wore gold and green. Some of the ancients at the brewery still wore gold\yellow & green scarves etc. ManU supporters - actually from Manchester!! How times change.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Just keep that Unholy Trinity, the Triabolical Trio, away from the lads. They could be damaged for life. I watched Oxlade-Chamberlain play for Ar$enal last night. What a leader - and still only 20. It would be marvellous to think that Loza, Murphys, Morris et al could `make it big`. When it happens, it seems to happen very young - or not at all. Soton have done well to hang on, thus far, to Lallana.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Do not mention that man's name! Doheeeeerty! <shudders> Woeful. Could be worse. My Mates missus cheated on him with Gary Doherty.

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Ha! never too much information. Just like to keep any potential guess masters to my occupation...guessing so to speak. I certainly am a toy boy so to speak although the missus isnt 40! Not a million miles away though. I certainly hope it was just a ride in the back of Ryan Giggs car as well as due to the age of her at the time. Salford has had enough drama with Ken Barlow!

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • If you insist on talking Man Utd at the expense of my beloved Norwich City, I prefer to read the stuff about Giggsy's Ford Escort (or Oldtimer's model T Ford), than Brewer's discourse on the "Origins of Man (Utd)". Just saying.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Friday, March 14, 2014

  • Swiss, you obviously haven't been reading The Lancet recently.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Oh my word. In short the answer to the initial headline question is no. Not if your opening evidence to support it is "Chris Martin – Arguably the most successful Norwich City academy graduate of the past decade".

    Report this comment

    Mattias333

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Perhaps the biggest problem facing our youth team is the fact that we do not play a reserve side and the manager appears frightened to introduce the lads straight into the first team. The only way to develop is to be given a chance, if you are good enough you are old enough, Rooney for example was in the first team at 17 and Whiteside and 16. Pehaps there is also a slight issue with NCFC finding the right players to start with, in days of old we appeared to have a very good scouting system, especially in the West Country which gave us Eadie and Bellamy for example.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Colin

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • No, hang on, that was the one who did Gary D*****y in Oldtimer's Ford Consul. Oh, s*d it! now I'm really confused. Zeberdee time, I think.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

  • Holt and Ricky Lambert had remarkably similar career paths, sharky. I think a player`s success can be down to the manager he inherits too. Gunn recruited Holt, but was a hopeless manager. Lambert inherited Holt - result happiness. Hughton inherited Holt - result misery. Hughton could inherit the ManC squad and they`d be mid-table. King Midas in Reverse, writ huge.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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