City kids 'not five-minute wonders'

PUBLISHED: 12:15 10 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:07 14 September 2010

City's Academy boss Ricky Martin has vowed to ensure that neither Andrew Cave-Brown nor Michael Spillane prove "five-minute wonders" following their FA Cup debuts on Saturday.

City's Academy boss Ricky Martin has vowed to ensure that neither Andrew Cave-Brown nor Michael Spillane prove “five-minute wonders” following their FA Cup debuts on Saturday.

“What the two boys have got to do now is to recognise that everything they've done to date is the reason they are where they are now,” said Martin, as he admitted to “a great sense of pride” in seeing two of his brightest Academy products - plus newly-turned professional Rossi Jarvis - make their first FA Cup appearances in the 2-1 home defeat by West Ham.

“There are a lot of people behind the scenes - not just the coaches, but the medical staff and the administrators - who have put a lot of time and energy into the boys development over the years and to see the three of them involved like that makes all the hard work it involves well worth it.”

The challenge now, as Martin readily concedes, is to keep the likes of Scottish Under-18 defender Cave-Brown and Republic of Ireland Under-17 skipper Spillane firmly in the manager's thoughts - not difficult for as long as Norwich's current injury woes continue.

“How these boys react now to making their first-team debuts is a big part of their development,” said Martin. “What we obviously all want is for them to prove long-term successes, not just five-minute wonders.

“So it's all about setting new goals, saying 'Right, I've made it on to the substitutes' bench, now I want a start . . .'

“And recognising that if they aren't involved the next week, it might be down to uncontrollable factors like, say, the return of Darren Huckerby and Dean Ashton.

“But what they can, in time, start to do is influence any new signings, in that if they are doing a job for the gaffer then he doesn't need to go out and buy anybody.”

The one thought that will not be allowed to cross the youngsters' minds is the one that undermines all too many teenage careers - that they've cracked it.

“That certainly won't be the message from the Academy - that just because I've been there once, I've done it.”

Much attention has been paid to Spillane, in particular, after his Christmas was spent following Norwich on their travels as the 16-year-old got a real taste of first-team life - a gentle introduction that appeared to reap its rewards with the ease with which the youngster took to his new surroundings.

“I know the manager's had Michael with them over Christmas, travelling with the first team and warming up with them before games and that would have put him in good stead,” said Martin, still believing that Spillane's true home will be at centre-half as opposed to Saturday's central midfield role. To have the physique, the temperament and the technique to play in either role is a very big string to the youngster's bow.

“I still think of Michael as more of a centre-half, but that will be down to the manager and his decision on the day, but like Rossi he is very capable of performing in two positions.”

Martin has, however, no doubts that the feet of both Spillane and Cave-Brown will remain planted firmly on the floor.

“They're both very mature lads - very focused, very determined and I'm sure that this will not go to their heads.

“Certainly they'll be treated no differently by us. They'll still have their college work to do, the educational side of things, as I'm a firm believer that if you treat people no differently, then they'll act no differently.”

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