Adeyemi relishing fight for place at Norwich City

PUBLISHED: 11:06 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:35 10 September 2010

David Cuffley

Tom Adeyemi has just one regret about his latest first team outing for Norwich City - he didn't grab his first senior goal for the club.

The 17-year-old midfielder was an impressive contributor to the Canaries' 1-0 victory in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Gillingham on Tuesday.

Tom Adeyemi has just one regret about his latest first team outing for Norwich City - he didn't grab his first senior goal for the club.

The 17-year-old midfielder was an impressive contributor to the Canaries' 1-0 victory in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Gillingham on Tuesday.

But with a little luck Adeyemi might have opened his goalscoring account before substitute Cody McDonald struck the winner in the second round tie at Priestfield Stadium.

He admitted: “I think I did quite well but I think I could possibly have had a couple of goals. I had two chances in the first half and a header in the second half but that wasn't to be, but overall I was quite pleased.”

Gillingham goalkeeper Alan Julian kept out Adeyemi's best effort just before half-time.

He said: “There were a few people on the line and it managed to get through them and it was just stopped by the 'keeper by his legs, I think, so that one was a bit unlucky.”

Competition for places in midfield means that four of Adeyemi's five starts for the first team have come in cup-ties - he has also had four outings as substitute - but injuries to senior players, plus the absence of Stephen Hughes, called up for international duty with Scotland in Japan, may offer him a chance to keep his place for Saturday's League One trip to Carlisle.

“I want to keep involved as much as I can and be part of the action, but on the other side it is good to see the team winning and it's just great to be part of that winning team and that winning environment,” said Adeyemi, who will be 18 later this month.

“I quite enjoy playing with Stephen. I think we balance each other quite well because he can get the ball from the back and spray it about and that allows me to get forward and get on the end of things and get the chances like I did, but unfortunately I couldn't put them away.”

He admitted it had taken time to adjust to the pace of first team football after learning the ropes in youth and reserve team matches.

“There is definitely a difference. The higher up you go, the faster it goes and it takes a while for your legs to get used to it,” he said. “After about 70 minutes, my legs started to go because I'm just not used to the pace of the game but I'm sure it will come and in time it will just feel normal. It takes a bit of getting used to for your legs.”

McDonald's winner at least spared Adeyemi and his team-mates the drama of a penalty shoot-out on a night when manager Paul Lambert had five teenagers on the field for City at the final whistle.

“That was a bit of a worry because I wasn't sure if I wanted to step up and take one but it was a good result in the end,” he said.

“It's good that we can rest so many senior players and still get a result like that. Everyone who's come in has done in really well, from the scholars through to the young pros to the senior ones, so it was pleasing all round.

“It was quite difficult to play out there. The pitch was quite heavy and the wind made it difficult but I thought we managed it quite well.”

Despite the low-key nature of the early rounds of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, with fewer than 3,000 at Gillingham on Tuesday, Adeyemi believes there is a worthwhile prize at the end of the road.

“Everyone is looking at getting to Wembley. That would be a massive experience for everyone involved. That's what we've got to aim for,” he said.

“As the manager said before the game, if you're in a competition you've got to try to win it, whatever.”

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