‘Excellent quality’ of City first team players helped U23s fight back to draw with Stoke
PUBLISHED: 11:10 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:50 12 March 2019
Playing alongside first-team players including Louis Thompson and Philip Heise helped Norwich City’s youngsters to up their game and salvage a draw against Stoke.
A late brace from Republic of Ireland Under-19 striker Adam Idah, taking his tally for the season to 13 goals in 21 games for City’s U23s, rescued a 2-2 draw against Stoke at Colney on Monday evening.
Fit-again Thompson was joined by January signing Heise – the German left-back making his first appearance in a Canaries shirt – as well as on-loan Borussia Dortmund right-back Felix Passlack and the experience of Northern Ireland keeper Michael McGovern.
“We’ve got Zac Dronfield and Louis Lomas as first and second year scholars in front of Michael, as well as Philip and Felix either side of them, with Louis in front of them, so it’s great experience for the young lads,” U23s coach David Wright said.
“Daniel Farke has got a first team squad with excellent quality, so when they drop down with us their attitude and application is brilliant.
“When our young boys see the way they conduct themselves and their attitude when training it’s brilliant because we can say it as much as we want to them, but when they see these pros in action, training to the level that they play, and playing to the level that they train then I think that speaks a thousand words.”
Anthony Spyrou returned from five games out injured and the striker – who signed a new contract last month – won a penalty when he was prevented from scoring by a foul.
Idah converted in the 75th minute and then curled a fine finish in five minutes later for 2-2, taking advantage of a defensive mistake.
“All of a sudden we’re getting a lot of injured players back and in the next couple of weeks we will have even more back, so the under-23s squad is just going to keep getting bigger,” Wright added.
“We have a bigger squad now compared to a couple of games ago, so from now until the end of the season there’s going to be a real fight for game time which means the boys, day in day out are going to have to work their socks off.”
The Premier League Two draw extended City’s unbeaten run to three games, building on a 3-3 away draw against Nottingham Forest in the PL Cup and an impressive 2-1 win away to Manchester United.
“In the first half I just felt that we needed to be a bit braver just to overload their number four, because they were set up as a 4-1-4-1, so the space was at either side of him,” U23s boss Wright explained, speaking to City’s website.
“We just couldn’t quite get that pass in, because their two midfield players were really tight on Tom (Scully) and Saul (Milovanovic). Once or twice we got it right and managed to bypass there press, but other than that we just couldn’t get it quite right.
“In the second half we got caught out at the start because we pressed really high to try and win it, and to be fair to them they bypassed us and scored a good enough goal.
“Overall, I was really pleased with the way we reacted, we went 1-0 down and we went full press on them, I thought the boys got our two goals with real pace and power and by being really decisive.”
• You can watch video of Idah’s equaliser above