New City U23s boss sees academy work as a team effort
- Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd
The development of young players is very much a team effort for academy staff at Norwich City, insists new under-23s boss Alan Neilson.
The former Wales, Newcastle and Southampton defender has been on the academy coaching staff at City since 2015, having previously had three stints as caretaker manager at Luton Town when the Hatters had dropped into non-league.
Neilson worked closely with David Wright at both U18 and U23 levels but Wright left the Canaries last month after being offered a role as part of the first-team coaching staff at League One side MK Dons.
The 48-year-old is working closely with head of football development Steve Weaver, who is overseeing both Neilson's progress with the U23s and Greg Crane's work with the U18s.
“I got on really well with Dave. He got an opportunity that he couldn’t turn down, he’s gone with his friends to MK and had a decent start. I still speak to him once or twice a week," Neilson explained.
“I’ve just gone into the role and Steve Weaver has said take the team, lead it. Steve’s the head of development football and helps out and we work together, all the development coaches do.
“For me, it’s about everybody developing the players and giving them the best opportunity to push for the first team.”
As part of those changes, Norwich are looking to hire a senior development coach who will work closely with Weaver on the development of players and coaches from U15s up to U23s.
Wright was back at Carrow Road on Friday as City's youngsters beat Aston Villa 4-2, as he scouted the Villans ahead of an upcoming EFL Trophy game.
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That league match was followed by a 3-3 draw with Derby at Colney in the Premier League Cup on Monday, with the young Canaries coming back from 3-1 down thanks to a hat-trick from striker Tom Dickson-Peters.
Wright and Neilson oversaw the development of players including Max Aarons, Adam Idah and Andrew Omobamidele, with City's new U23s boss thrilled to see Omobamidele playing senior international football for Ireland and making his Premier League debut recently.
"I turned the TV over and I didn’t realise that Adam was playing and Andrew had come on against Portugal," he added. "It was great for the academy, it was great for Andrew."
- You can watch highlights of Monday's draw in the video above