Spillane: Youth can be key

PUBLISHED: 10:20 22 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:32 10 September 2010

Michael Spillane is in line for a potentially lengthy run at centre-half as the Canaries prepare for five matches in 15 days.

Michael Spillane is in line for a potentially lengthy run at centre-half as the Canaries prepare for five matches in 15 days.

Michael Spillane has hailed the growing influence of Norwich City's young brigade - as the likelihood of an extended run of first team duty looms for the 20-year-old defender.

Michael Spillane has hailed the growing influence of Norwich City's young brigade - as the likelihood of an extended run of first team duty looms for the 20-year-old defender.

With Michael Nelson likely to be sidelined for “a few more weeks” by an ankle injury and former player of the year Gary Doherty told he does not figure in manager Paul Lambert's plans, Spillane is in line for a potentially lengthy run at centre-half as the Canaries prepare for five matches in 15 days.

And, after facing League One leaders Charlton in a line-up that also included teenagers Korey Smith and Luke Daley, he said the manager's faith in the club's Academy products was paying dividends.

Spillane knows Lambert has not been checking any birth certificates before filling in his teamsheet.

“He says to us it doesn't matter how old you are. I don't think he knows our age anyway because he doesn't look into it,” said Spillane.

“It's not a big deal to him. If you're good enough, you're old enough. I'm happy that he thinks like that.”

Spillane deputised for Nelson in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Charlton after replacing him for the final half-hour of last week's televised defeat at MK Dons.

“I'm glad to get my chance. It's not good, someone else getting injured, but that's football and I thought I did all right, as well,” he said.

“Korey's playing well. He rats around and does his job and he works really hard and he's a good player for the team. He's doing well so I'm happy for him.”

With Lambert giving prominent roles to 17-year-old Tom Adeyemi and 20-year-old Chris Martin - like Spillane, on loan at Luton for the whole of last season - and including 18-year-old goalkeeper Declan Rudd and 17-year-old David Stephens on the bench, there is no lack of incentive for City's youngsters to impress the boss.

Substitute Martin, who scored at MK Dons, had a hand in Grant Holt's stoppage-time equaliser against Charlton as City hit back from 2-0 down against the morning leaders.

“That shows how much character we've got,” said Spillane. “Before me might have crumbled and it might have been three, four five. But we showed character, we didn't let our heads down, we got back in the game.

“I don't know when we last scored a last-minute goal so it was good to have that feeling back in the changing room that we haven't had for a little while.

“I think Charlton would have been happy after that performance to get a point out of it. I know they went 2-0 up, but we battered them that much that they'll be happy to come away with a draw. They're a good team but we showed that we're just as good as them, if not better.”

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