Scrap the academy? Never on Stuart Webber’s watch at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Stuart Webber has rubbished any suggestion Norwich City will look to downgrade their academy set-up.
Both Webber and his newly-appointed academy head, Steve Weaver, worked together at Huddersfield, who recently announced controversial plans to scrap their junior sides below the age of 18.
City’s sporting director admits the club’s youth system needs to be overhauled, but the aim is to produce more talent like the Murphy twins.
“We can quash any rumours about closing the academy down. It is a massive part of what we are trying to do moving forward,” he said. “We have done an internal review and we want to strip back what we don’t do well.
“We have to address those areas and change. The under-23 team needs to become our second team. You perhaps saw the first signs of that with Adam Phillips on the bench at Brentford in the League Cup.
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“The academy is a huge passion of mine but we have to get it right because it is paramount.
“We want to invest more. I don’t mean financially, because in truth in the Championship we have to cut our cloth accordingly and that applies to the academy. I am not going to lie.
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“We need to invest more in terms of effort, energy and passion to the academy. It was highlighted with Jacob’s sale and the emergence of Josh what can happen if you get it right. For a self-funding club, as we are, we ultimately rely on trading players.
“It is far easier to do that with a young player than someone in their late 20s. It was part of the reason for bringing in Daniel (Farke) and his ability to improve young players.”
Weaver’s arrival is another facet of that strategy, after replacing Richard Money, who has been linked with a management role at National League Gateshead in the last few days.
“I had a really strong relationship with Richard and it got to the point where he was very clear he wanted to become a first team manager again,” said Webber. “We couldn’t offer that opportunity so it gave us a chance to bring in someone else. I have worked with Steve before,
“I trust him 100pc. He gets how I see development and the running of the football side. For me, he had left Huddersfield so it was a no-brainer. I don’t have to train anyone up to be on the same page.”