Ex-Canary on FA Cup mission for the Linnets
- Credit: Archant
The magic of the FA Cup isn’t lost on Kyle Callan-McFadden – the King’s Lynn Town defender was part of the Norwich City side that won the Youth Cup version in 2013. He spoke to Chris Lakey ahead of the Linnets' FA Cup tie against Peterborough Sports this weekend
Kyle Callan-McFadden can reel the names off without hesitation – the Norwich City and Chelsea stars of the future who did battle in the FA Youth Cup final eight years ago.
"They had a big team, big names in the team and you can see the names that have gone on – Nathan Ake is at Manchester City now, Andreas Christensen is still playing for Chelsea, some big names,” he recalls.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek wore the blue as well, while Callan-McFadden's own team-mates at the time included Cameron McGeehan, Harry Toffolo, Carlton Morris and the Murphy twins, Josh and Jacob – difficult to tell apart... unless you know the clue.
“I played with them for so long at Norwich and I know the two boys well - and one of them has a scar above his eye and that’s how you tell,” Callan-McFadden says with a smile.
A two-legged final saw City prevail 1-0 at home and then 3-2 away, the team put together and managed by Neil Adams, who went on to manage the senior City team – giving Callan-McFadden his only senior appearance – and now assistant sporting director to Stuart Webber.
“Neil was gaffer at the time and we sat down and did our homework,” he recalled. “Obviously they wanted to play football and get the ball down, but we knew they didn’t like the dirty side of the game so... “
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The sentence hangs in the air, but the inference is clear.
“... we came out winners of the FA Youth Cup. That is what gaffers get paid to do – point out weaknesses in teams, and we just went out and pretty much kicked bits out of them.”
Adams was a regular at The Walks last season when, as loans manager, he kept an eye on Archie Mair and, for a time, Simon Power. As always, the Norwich connections at Lynn mean a pre-match chat with old friends before kick-off. That Adams promotion has gone down well with Callan-McFadden.
“I think it is good for Neil – he's a Norwich legend isn’t he? He won the Youth Cup with us boys at under 18 and went on to manage the first team, so obviously he has a new title, and maybe if Stuart steps away I am guessing Neil will step in there. It is brilliant for Neil and I am glad to see him doing well on the football side of things.”
Another of those pre-match chats came in pre-season with the man Callan-McFadden regards as something of a mentor during his formative years at Carrow Road – Russell Martin, who brought his MK Dons side to The Walks before moving on to take charge at Championship side Swansea City.
“I made my debut beside Russ when I played in the Capital One Cup (against Crawley). I think he may have played right back and I was centre back with Carlos Cuellar at the time. Russ was a big help for me growing up. A young lad from Ireland, he kind of took me under his wing as such. We had lots of talks and I have a lot of respect for Russ.
“It’s obviously been noticed at Swansea - I saw something the other day that Pep Guardiola is looking to send his younger players to Swansea because of the brand of football they play so that speaks volumes of Russ.”
The Norwich City influence on the playing career of Kyle Callan-McFadden continues today, with Ian Culverhouse, the former City player and assistant manager, in charge at The Walks.
The immediate task at hand is this weekend's the visit of Peterborough Sports.
"It will be tough because in the league the gaffer might have a load of footage of a team leading up to a game and we we’d be working and watching bits on them but obviously with Peterborough Sports, we don't know much about them," said Callan-McFadden.
"But we will figure it out best we can how they play – I'm sure the gaffer wil have knowledge about that. A lot of people are saying they are here to cause an upset – so that is one we are looking to put to bed on Saturday."