Who are the contenders to be Norwich City’s next FA Youth Cup star?
PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:03 11 December 2019
Has another FA Youth Cup star been born at Carrow Road? Josh Martin will certainly be hoping so, after introducing himself to Norwich City fans in style with an impressive hat-trick.
The 18-year-old proved the difference as City's under-18s beat Newcastle United 3-2 in an entertaining third round tie, giving the hosts the lead on three occasions.
It was the sumptuous 25-yard strike which sealed his hat-trick which really captured the imagination of Canaries supporters present on a cold and wet December evening though.
Sporting director Stuart Webber had the perfect view from the directors box as the tricky attacker unleashed a missile from the right channel in the 81st minute, with the ball darting towards the top-left corner, staying too high for the visiting keeper in the River End goal - and Webber was among those applauding the superb effort as Martin celebrated.
So who is the latest City academy prodigy aiming to use the prestigious competition to raise his profile at a young age, to follow in the footsteps of players including Josh and Jacob Murphy, Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons and Adam Idah in recent years?
Martin was on the books at Arsenal from the age of eight but joined Norwich in March after a trial.
Originally from Luton, the youngster caught the eye of supporters with an ambitious quote on the club's official website as his arrival was announced.
Describing his style, Martin said: "I'm a left winger or an attacking midfielder, I like to run at players and get shots off. I try to emulate (Cristiano) Ronaldo, and I can bring goals and assists to the team."
With his man-of-the-match display against the Magpies, those comments can now be taken more seriously, with two calm and classy finishes beginning his excellent night.
Martin also impressed in the EFL Trophy group stages earlier this season, playing almost all of a cruel 2-1 defeat at Oxford United and a 2-1 win over League Two side Crawley
It's just the next step on a long road to having a chance of becoming a fully fledged professional, of course, and Martin will know he needs more eye-catching displays to get close to senior recognition - either at Norwich or out on loan.
He was ably supported by plenty of talented team-mates as well, with left winger Tony Springett involved in the build-up to both of City's goals in the first half, with the 16-year-old using his impressive pace to good effect.
He was backed up by Belgium youth international Rob Nizet, who had looked determined in his defensive work before he was forced off by injury in the 70th minute.
Centre-back Jonathan Tomkinson, a summer recruit from the USA, looked a real athlete and certainly has size on his side at 17 years old.
It could have been a much more comfortable evening if the Canaries' strikers had brought their shooting boots though, with Thomas Dickson-Peters enduring a particularly frustrating evening.
The Scotland U18 international hit the post but also wasted some clear shooting opportunities along the way, getting into good positions but hesitating at crucial moments.
His strike partner Tyrese Omotoye, with nine goals in 14 matches this season, was similarly lively but snatching at goal-scoring opportunities.
Both will be eager for their next Carrow Road opportunity to show that they can keep their cool, as their development continues.
In amongst the positive performance there was also a player with senior experience on their CV, with Dan Adshead in central midfield, partnering battling captain and local lad Zach Dronfield.
The 18-year-old was signed from Rochdale for a reported £300,000 this summer, having made his debut for the League One club as a 16-year-old.
Adshead made a total of 25 appearances for Dale and scored on his England U19 debut earlier this season, so has been a regular starter at U23 level for City since joining.
The hard working midfielder grew into the game but didn't get much of a chance to show his passing range and will be fired up to show the experience he has already gained as the Youth Cup progresses - particularly as someone born in Manchester, if it does prove to be United in the next round.
All of the Canaries' young hopefuls will have to be patient for now though, as they head into their Christmas break before returning to U18 Premier League action against Leicester on January 4.
By then they will know whether it is the Red Devils or Lincoln that they will be facing at Carrow Road in the Youth Cup, as those teams meet this Friday, knowing a trip to Norfolk next month awaits the victors.
- Did you watch the Youth Cup tie? Let us know which players impressed you by leaving a comment below or tweeting @pinkun
CITY'S NEW UNDER-18 SQUAD
Ahead of Tuesday night's Youth Cup tie at Carrow Road the City U18s introduced themselves to supporters.
In a video on the club's official Facebook page the latest batch of academy hopefuls explained their journeys so far in football. They are...
- Joe Rose - Norwich, 17 - goalkeeper
- Sam Blair - Aylsham, 16 - goalkeeper
- Ethan Vaughan - Halifax, 17 - right back
- Eddie Jackson - Bungay, 16 - right back
- Jaden Warner - London, 16 - central defender
- Andrew Omobamidele - Ireland, 17 - central defender
- Anthonius Berkeley - Manchester, 17 - central defender
- Jonathan Tomkinson - USA, 17 - central defender
- Matthew Richardson - Milton Keynes, 17 - central defender
- Zak Brown - London, 16 - central defender
- Arash Ahmadi - Iran, 17 - left back
- Sean Stewart - Northern Ireland, 16 - left back
- Reece McAlear - Glasgow, 17 - central midfielder
- Saxon Earley - Norwich, 17 - central midfielder
- Zach Dronfield - Norwich, 17 - central midfielder
- Nelson Khumbeni - Malawi, 16 - central midfield
- Abu Kamara - London, 16 - attacking midfielder
- Joshua Martin - Luton, 18 - winger
- Tony Springett - London, 16 - winger
- Jonathan Rowe - London, 16 - winger
- Josh Giurgi - Ireland, 17 - forward
- Harry Pitcher - Diss, 16 - forward
- Tyrese Omotoye - London, 16 - striker
- Thomas Dickson-Peters - Slough, 16 - striker