Matt Gill detects good vibes from Norwich City's development crew
PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 July 2018
Norwich City's Under-23s were also out on tour in Germany with the seniors. Paddy Davitt caught up with Matt Gill to get the inside track on a very successful pre-season trip.
Matt Gill’s Norwich City development squad produced arguably the most eye-catching performance of the club’s German stay.
City’s youngsters, bolstered by the presence of Russell Martin in their ranks, thumped Borussia Dortmund’s Under-23s 6-0 at SV Lunen in their tour finale, with Adam Idah grabbing four goals and Anthony Spyrou a brace in front of watching sporting director Stuart Webber and many of the club’s top brass.
Gill, however, insisted that power-packed display was the result of hard work, plenty of self-analysis on the training pitch and honest endeavour from his new look squad.
“It’s been a really good tour. Not many under-23 teams get to go on tour with the seniors,” he said. “For the lads it is brilliant to be here training on the adjacent pitch and around them at meal times.
“It is a great chance for the boys to get to know the first team and for the first team staff to learn a bit more about the lads.
“It is also a microwaved process for us, in terms of the time you spend with them. It felt like we were away for a month. A great way to integrate the first year pros who have stepped up this year.
“Pre-season is definitely about physical outcomes but if you can get some tactical and technical aspects into them and test them that is ideal. The lads have really taken the tactical demands on board and that has really shown in the games.
“One of the main strengths of this group is they are desperate to improve, desperate to get stronger.
“We de-briefed the first friendly (against Paderborn) and felt there was some bits and pieces we could have done better.
“We didn’t keep the ball as well as we would have liked. We had a player-led de-brief, the staff had their input at the end and we knew going into the Dortmund game that would be a lot tougher.
“The lads were set up to try and put everything they had learned in pre-season into practice. It helps to score early and the two lads up front were a threat the whole game but out of possession things came together.
“To score six goals against a team like that is very satisfying. It is down to them and the hard work.”
Strike twins Idah and Spyrou may have earned the headlines with their goalscoring exploits, but Gill is adamant this whole group can flourish.
“More than likely this will be the group for the season. There might be a loan or two who go out late in the window but this group can have a successful season,” he said. “The 23s has been quite a good group to work.
“We have a strategy to get lads out on loan. You saw that with Ben (Godfrey) and Todd (Cantwell). Max Aarons has gone a different path and performed at 23s and been brought into the first team group.
“There is different ways of getting where they want to be.
“For the two boys up front without a shadow of a doubt the potential is there. One 17, one 18 and they are really, really hungry. Which is the main thing, they are desperate to score and work. That needs to continue.
“We had to fire into them a bit at training on the Thursday to ensure they don’t get carried away. One win against Dortmund isn’t everything. They won’t get ahead of themselves, neither will the whole group, and the staff will step in if they do.
“They are strong, quick, can finish and they are going in the right direction.”
Experienced defender Martin was also the perfect role model.
“It has been absolutely invaluable for me and the players,” said Gill. “They have recognised what it takes. For Russ to be here and adding value in every session, helping the boys around him on the pitch and in front of him, plus his help off the pitch.
“The attitude, the way he looks after himself.
“He has been brilliant for me as a coach. Instead of me just telling them the lads can see it from someone who has been successful at the highest level, and what it takes day in, day out to reach that.”