No regrets just life lessons for City old boy

Former Norwich City striker Carlton Morris was on target for Barnsley at the Canaries' Championship

Former Norwich City striker Carlton Morris' first goal for Barnsley was big on a personal level and for his old club in their promotion quest - Credit: PA

Had the football fates conspired differently it could have been Carlton Morris holding the Championship trophy aloft on the Barnsley pitch. 

Instead, Morris watched from a close distance as his former club officially sealed another Championship coronation under Daniel Farke. 

The 25-year-old former FA Youth Cup winner became a Tyke in January after ending his long association with the Canaries. 

Morris had six different senior managers at Carrow Road, and a series of loan spells. One of those was alongside Ben Godfrey at Shrewsbury in a season that brought two Wembley final appearances. 

In the second showpiece, a League One play-off duel against Rotherham, Morris suffered a serious knee injury that closed the door on playing any part in Norwich's 2018/19 Championship title winning campaign.

Godfrey, however, grabbed his chance due to injury at the heart of City’s central defence midway through that campaign and has never looked back. A mega money move to Everton was followed by inclusion in the England squad for pre-Euro 2020 friendlies.

But Morris did not let his mind wander to what might have been, stood on that Oakwell pitch last month. 

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“To see Granty (Grant Hanley) lift the trophy there was no regrets or what ifs, not at all, I'm on my own path,” he said. “I'm just buzzing for my former team mates and my friends that they went and achieved that. But you know, I'm focusing on me and Barnsley at the moment. 

“What happened at Shrewsbury is just life. Things like that can happen. It's not just football, there's a lot worse things happen in other walks of life. I can't cry about that. I'm still in a very fortunate position. I've managed to bounce back, thankfully.

"I have got a buzz out of seeing lads like (Manchester United keeper) Dean Henderson and Ben Godfrey go on and flourish. Dean is one of my best mates now and I still speak to Ben very often. I love to see how well they've done.” 

Morris’ career is also on the up, after cutting short a proposed season loan with Russell Martin’s MK Dons to sign for a Barnsley who defied the odds to make the Championship play-offs.

Morris played a leading role with some crucial goals that also earned him a lot of love from City’s fan base. 

Carlton Morris was an FA Youth Cup winner with the Canaries

Carlton Morris was an FA Youth Cup winner with the Canaries - Credit: Matthew Usher/Archant

“You mention that Brentford goal. That was my first start and first goal for Barnsley and then the amount of Norwich tweets I got was crazy,” he said. “They just flooded in. I think with Brentford it was tight at the time at the top. It was a massive result for us, obviously, but you know, the Norwich fans loved it.

"That was our squad mentality at Barnsley and I just love that. We don’t worry about who we are playing, and that is why I love being part of this team. Whether it's Chelsea in the FA Cup we're playing or I don't know, whoever else, we show the same attitude and we attack it every time. 

“I'd never say this move has exceeded my expectations. I am not an arrogant person but I know what I'm capable of. I think I am capable of a lot more.

“I'm not going to rest on my laurels so I want to put last season under my belt and crack on and go and try and top that now this next season. That's what you've got to do. Don’t think about the past, good or bad.” 

Dons' boss Martin was desperate to keep Morris at MK, and the striker is convinced the Norwich stalwart is on course to forge an excellent coaching career. 

“I think he's destined for big things, in my opinion,” said the forward. “The emphasis he places on possession. I think you see coaches that do that already who are at the very top.

"They're innovative. That's a great word to describe Russ and obviously his assistant as well. They're not scared to try things. And I think it breeds exciting football.  

“I loved my time working under him, he took to management like a duck to water. I always keep an eye on the MK results. I can see the way they ended the season that something's happening, something's cooking there.

"He was excellent to work with and I enjoyed every second. I have no regrets with the decision to leave because it was right for me.  

“They're in different divisions, they've got different sorts of backing. The move to Barnsley was kind of a no brainer for me, because, you know, it's a big, well established club and they're sitting pretty in the Championship. I've always wanted to prove myself at this level.

"I had a little stint before but I've always wanted to prove properly that's sort of my level, if not higher.” 

Carlton Morris suffered a serious knee injury in the League One play-off final on loan at Shrewsbury

Carlton Morris suffered a serious knee injury in the League One play-off final on loan at Shrewsbury - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Morris still has two years left on his Barnsley deal, but those numerous loans and some dark injury periods have taught him to live in the moment. 

“I’ve had so many ups and downs in this game it has taught me is to just enjoy the ride,” he said. “I have my personal little targets and goals that you know, I like to keep locked inside my own head. 

"The main takeaway for me is just enjoy the ride while I am still here. My dad always tells me it's not going to last forever. It is a short career and you've got to enjoy it while doing it. 

“The mental side of being injured is something I have spoken about and, okay, it was a year out, which in the grand scheme of things might not seem a big deal, but it did build my character a lot and build me as a person.

"I'm almost thankful for the experience because it's helped me not only in football, but as a man as well. So yeah, just enjoy the ride.” 

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