James Maddison makes his mark at Norwich City for Alex Neil
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Norwich City new boy James Maddison is making the right first impression on Alex Neil.
The highly-rated attacking midfielder marked his first public pre-season outing for the Canaries with an assist in the 3-0 friendly win at Peterborough.
City beat off competition from the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool to recruit the 19-year-old from Coventry City in the January window, before loaning the starlet back to the Sky Blues. Neil revealed Maddison has already made great strides in his short spell at the Canaries, and the teenager was just one of a number of youngsters on show at the Abax Stadium.
“I thought he did very well. Technically you can see he has good pictures, he can see good passes,” said Neil. “I thought he retained the ball very well and for such a young lad you can see the talent and the awareness he has.
“I have seen a big difference in both Ben (Godfrey) and James this summer, particularly Ben, who I know from last season. They have been involved in every part of pre-season and at the moment they are lads who I am looking at and thinking, ‘show me you are ready,’ because the simple fact is our squad is getting older. We had an average age last year of 28, 29 and I wanted to freshen it.
“In Louis Ramsay, Harry Toffolo and Todd Cantwell as well we had a lot of young players on the pitch against some experienced guys who are doing this for a living and know what it is all about and I thought they acquitted themselves really well.
“The bottom line is to buy lads at 24, 25 costs a lot of money so maybe you can only get one or two of them whereas if I can invest in some of the youth it means for years going forward Norwich will have some exciting young players. Nathan Redmond was a prime example of that. We bought him when he was young, developed him for a couple of years and moved him on for a lot of money.”