Little Lions. Big Lions. City trio on the same path as Maddison for proud Farke
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City’s ‘little Lions’ must now roar even louder for head coach Daniel Farke.
Canaries' trio Ben Godfrey, Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell all earned their first England Under-21 calls on Friday, for upcoming qualifiers against Turkey and Kosovo's under-21s.
Farke is usually loathe to heap praise on his young talent, but admitted there is always an exception to the rule.
"Yes, I guess I have to break my rules and praise them a little bit because it is well deserved," he said. "It is not a coincidence, or you get this recognition as a gift. It comes from working unbelievably hard. A big compliment to all the boys.
"It is a reward for them and also well deserved for the club as a whole because it shows our philosophy to stick with the younger lads and to improve and develop them to take the next step in your career.
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"They also know I will be even happier when they wear the 'big' Lion on their shirt.
"Right now they are allowed to wear the shirt of the little Lions.
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"I won't be telling them they will get there eventually. That is not my style. I have to keep the pressure high on them and remind that what they have to improve."
Farke's former protégé, James Maddison, was included in Gareth Southgate's senior plans and could be in line for his full England debut over the upcoming international window.
Maddison blossomed under Farke's guidance and the head coach insists the midfielder is a shining light for City's new wave.
"Perhaps for my three lads it is an example the under-21s should not be the only target but that you can reach even bigger rewards," he said. "It is totally due to James' personality and hard work.
"You can't praise myself or our club too much. I do remember though when I came in he was a young lad who perhaps wasn't physically ready for the load required and there was a discussion about whether we loaned him out, because there was so many experienced competitors in his position.
"We decided he would stay because we saw a lot in him and trusted in his ability and we wanted to help him improve. It was step by step and firstly he had to wear the under-21s shirt.
"Now he has the 'big' Lions. He has taken the next step at Leicester and hopefully he can go further on."