Canaries defender hoping to impress
DAVID CUFFLEY Andrew Cave-Brown is hoping to swap his seat on the bus for a place on the bench - en route to first team football with Norwich City. The 18-year-old defender has pushed himself back to the fringes of the senior squad after a season marred by serious injury.
Andrew Cave-Brown is hoping to swap his seat on the bus for a place on the bench - en route to first team football with Norwich City.
The 18-year-old defender has pushed himself back to the fringes of the senior squad after a season marred by serious injury.
And, after signing a one-year extension to his contract with the Canaries last week, Cave-Brown is eager for another chance to show what he can do.
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His first team baptism came as a substitute against West Ham in the FA Cup at Carrow Road 15 months ago. His next chance came when he started the Carling Cup tie at Torquay last August, but was carried off with ankle ligament damage after less than half an hour.
Now he hopes the worst is behind him, encouraged by being on duty with the senior squad under manager Peter Grant at recent matches - and by the prospect of taking on the world with Scotland Under-20s in the summer.
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Cave-Brown said: “The last month and a half I've been on the bus, but unfortunately I haven't made the bench. But I've just got to keep my head down. I'm not one to go in and start asking and moaning. I've just got to keep my head down and work hard and hopefully my chance will come.
“We all train together - there's no reserves and first team. It's been like that for the last couple of years, so I can learn from people like Darren Huckerby and Robert Earnshaw, when he's back, and use it for myself.
“We don't know what's happening in the summer with the new gaffer. He's got his own ideas, but with his decision to give me a new contract I hope I'm in his plans. It would be brilliant to play regularly, but I'm not going to say that. If there's an injury or something, I can get my chance and get my foot in the door and then go from there.
“It's been quite a frustrating year for me, but to get a new contract is like the club showing their intent and hopefully I can repay them next season by getting a game and hopefully putting in a few good performances.”
He admitted there had been some tough days after his ankle operation.
He said: “That's what happens in football. I had a really good summer and pre-season went really well and I got my chance, and got an injury after half an hour. I hope I can come back stronger from that and get my chance to show what I can do.
“It was very difficult. I was on such a high and then to do that, I was out for so long. It does grind you down but you've just got to get through it and come out the other side stronger.
“It was about four months until I could start running again and then I had a loan spell at King's Lynn to get my fitness back, which was really good to get me back in the swing of things, and now I've come back to Norwich to try to get in the side again.”
His spell in the Southern League had toughened him up, he said.
“It was a definite eye-opener - there are many things that are different about it, like the tackles. You're playing against fully-grown men who aren't particularly great but they're just there to smash you. You've got to learn to look after yourself. I can take it from that and push on in my career.”
The fact that former City reserve team boss Keith Webb was in charge at The Walks was “a definite factor” in his recovery, he said.
“The gaffer said he wouldn't have let me go out if he didn't know Webby was going to be the manager. Keith knows me as a player and knew my situation with the injury so I didn't get run ragged. He knew what to do with me.”
On a global scale, Cave-Brown is relishing the prospect of a trip to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with Scotland during the close season, with one memorable summer on the international scene already under his belt.
He said: “We went to Poland last year and got to the European Under-19 Championship final, which was one of the best things in my life, and I'm looking forward to the World Cup in Canada at the start of July.”
He qualifies for Scotland through his mother: “She was born up there and loads of my family live up there.”
The Scots will be based in Victoria on Vancouver Island and their three Group F fixtures are against Japan on July 1, Nigeria on July 4 and Costa Rica on July 7.
Scotland are the only home nation to qualify. The 24 teams compete in six groups of four with quarter-finals and semi-finals to follow. The final is in Toronto on July 22.