Members of City’s academy explain how they’re maintaining physical and mental well-being

PUBLISHED: 10:22 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:30 01 April 2020

Tom Scully explains how Norwich City's development squads have been retaining their fitness. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Tom Scully explains how Norwich City's development squads have been retaining their fitness. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

A number of Norwich City’s academy prospects have revealed how they’re maintaining their fitness and keeping themselves occupied during this extended break from football.

The Canaries approach to youth development has led to five academy prospects being regularly involved with the first-team squad.

Football has been suspended as society continues to contend with the coronavirus pandemic. The Premier League, EFL and FA elected to postpone all competitions until April 30 at the earliest.

Speaking about how he’s been keeping him busy, City’s under-23s captain Tom Scully said: “It’s just finding what to do with myself every hour, that’s just the way to look at it, find new things to do every few hours.

“Some of the lads are doing that toilet roll challenge, some of them are good, but I’m the best at it!”

Alfie Payne has been on-loan at King's Lynn Town. Picture: Ian BurtAlfie Payne has been on-loan at King's Lynn Town. Picture: Ian Burt

Balancing fitness and maintaining their mental health has been the priority for City’s young talent during this period, something the club has been assisting them with.

“In terms of keeping busy, the club has given us a lot of support. The player care manager Clive [Cook] has given us a lot of support in terms of mental health and just making sure we’re not getting bored,” Zach Dronfield told the club’s official website.

“He’s sent us loads of documents and things we can look at to try and keep ourselves entertained, as well as all the runs and the gym work we’ve been trying to do at home that they’ve sent through for us to keep us fit and busy.”

For Alfie Payne, the situation is different. Despite being contracted to the Canaries, the 20-year-old has spent this season on loan at promotion-chasing King’s Lynn Town.

Jordan Thomas has been keeping the club up to date with his mental well-being. Picture: Nick ButcherJordan Thomas has been keeping the club up to date with his mental well-being. Picture: Nick Butcher

As he awaits the verdict on how the Linnets season will be concluded, the midfielder has been maintaining his fitness at home with his parents.

“I’ve been going on a few bike rides with my dad, a few runs, just to keep my fitness up and get a bit of exercise in. I’ve been doing a few home workouts, which I’ve had to get creative with because, like most others, gym equipment in my house is very bare.

“I’ve been making use of different body weight exercises, picking up tables and chairs to do different exercises, which is quite amusing!

“I even got a message from Stuart Webber [Sporting Director] recently. It’s just nice to know that, even though we’re not at the training ground every day, we’re still in contact.”

Managing young players mental well-being is as pivotal as ensuring they’re completing their physical work. Right-back Jordan Thomas explains how City’s staff are checking in on the development squads.

I spoke to Wrighty [David Wright Under-23s Coach] and Jay [Eastoe-Smith Head of Academy Sports Science], they’ve asked how things are and how my body is, just wanting to see how I’m getting on with the programme.

“I spoke to Clive [Cook] on the phone a couple of days ago, just to talk about my mental health and well-being, how I’m getting on in this time. There’s been really good support from the staff who have been in contact with me.”

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