Paddy Davitt: Farke and the clear break from the P45 past at City
PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:01 24 March 2019
There is a former Norwich City manager, who will remain nameless, that had a vastly different approach to blooding youngsters compared with Daniel Farke.
The gist of his outlook to promoting and then persevering with raw, inconsistent, precocious talent was he could not wait for them to be ready. Not when he had games to win and a job to keep.
In other words, given the precarious short-term nature of his employment, he had to rely on fully formed alternatives to win him matches.
That is a perfectly reasonable outlook, if the priority is avoiding your P45.
It does nothing for bringing through academy-produced products, saving your club money in the process, or earning it vast sums in all probability further down the line, while strengthening those ties that bind with your supporters.
Take Todd Cantwell. A son of Norfolk who represents each and every one of them. But there is just as much pride in the manner Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons and Ben Godfrey have blossomed and burst to the fore during Norwich’s Championship charge.
A penny for Farke’s thoughts in recent days as he watched all three turning out for their respective countries.
Put to one side the obvious concerns about the extra workload and injury risk, that could hinder the club’s final league push, and such representation acts as another tick in the box for Farke’s unbending commitment to youth development.
A policy facilitated by the environment fostered by Stuart Webber to transform the culture at Colney. Breeding and hot-housing is not just desirable it is imperative, to insulate the club from the cold, financial winds that blow around the Championship.
But as Webber said way back when Lewis was introduced for his full league debut at Birmingham City on Boxing Day 2017, such an idea only becomes a reality if you have a brave head coach at the helm.
Farke, unlike his unnamed predecessor, is willing to provide opportunities for young men who in previous regimes at Carrow Road would never have got to the first team in the same accelerated fashion.
You could argue the perilous financial situation which unleashed the forces that marked a break with the past demand City’s head coach turns to young, unproven talent.
But he is also measured by results and league status. Ivo Pinto or even a Felix Passlack may have been an easier option at right back this season than a fast-track promotion for Aarons.
To give him a full league debut at Portman Road in a derby against Ipswich tells you everything you need to know about Farke’s fearlessness.
Godfrey also featured as a second-half substitute against the Blues, in September’s 1-1 draw, as part of a backline that included both Aarons and Lewis.
The German appears to have an alchemist’s touch when it comes to the right time to push these players through.
But it is not an exact science and should Norwich seal a place in the Premier League it becomes harder again to catapult inexperienced youngsters into a league awash with cash and global stars.
To simply compete at that level is a complex task. Norwich would again be able to tap into the multi-million bounty on offer to members of that most exclusive of football cliques.
Webber has already reiterated, prior to this current international break, the Canaries would remain ‘creative’ and circumspect.
There will be no return to lavish spending of the past, but access to such revenue streams potentially does negate the need to be quite so reliant on fostering a conveyor belt of conveyor belt.
Yet that thought runs counter to the bold philosophy underpinning this remarkable Championship season; one that places youth development at its very core.
We have seen enough of Farke in his willingness to play unheralded starlets and to continue playing them when more experienced options return, to suggest the mindset of many of his predecessors cannot take hold.
City will try to crack the top flight and then stay there by trusting their own.