City starlet opens up on early struggles at Canaries
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Diallang Jaiyesimi is making waves on loan at Swindon Town but the Norwich City loanee admits it has not been an easy route into the professional ranks.
The 21-year-old attacker has emerged as a key figure in the Robins’ rise to second place in League Two, prior to the recent shutdown in response to the spread of coronavirus.
City have a further one-year option on Jaiyesimi, who is yet to make a senior breakthrough at Carrow Road since being spotted at Dulwich Hamlet in 2016.
“I was thinking, at about 16 or 17, I’m going to stop playing football,” he said. “I didn’t have a club and I didn’t think there was much point carrying on. I was at Dulwich and they’ve got very good role models there and they told me to stop anything else I was doing and focus on football.
“They told me I’d get a move if I really applied myself properly.
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“I struggled with the transition (signing for Norwich). It’s not like school where there’s discipline formally but you have to carry yourself in a certain way. I had trouble doing that.
“The professional game is more demanding because I went from Dulwich and training twice a week to twice a day at Norwich.
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“In terms of playing, I was a good footballer but I didn’t really know how to play 11-a-side, really. I kind of struggled with that when I first joined Norwich. It was about knowing when to do stuff at the right times but I got the hang of it relatively quickly.”
Jaiyesimi has been a regular in City’s development set up as well as previous loan stints at Grimsby and Yeovil.
The youngster hails from Peckham, south London, and credits his upbringing with helping him cope with early rejection as he tried to find a club.
“Football was a distraction from just chilling in the area, and doing nothing or getting up to whatever people get up to. It was a distraction for me,” he said, speaking to the Robins’ official matchday magazine, Red Review.
“I was playing football in the area, and all the older boys were saying to carry on and focus on it.
“You have people telling you that you don’t need to do anything but focus on football – it was a good distraction from what was going on around.
“It helped me a lot playing cage football. It means you express yourself without anyone shouting at you. It helped me do different things to try and get past someone.”