Canaries keeper earns first Wales U21 call-up after senior action

Daniel Barden of Norwich during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

Daniel Barden in Championship action at Cardiff for Norwich City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City goalkeeper Daniel Barden has been called up to the Wales Under-21 squad for the first time, after impressing at senior level earlier this season.

The former Arsenal trainee has made four appearances for the Canaries, including starting a 2-1 Championship win at Cardiff in January when both Tim Krul and Michael McGovern were out injured.

With three U19 caps and one U20 appearance on his CV, the City prospect has been called up by Wales ahead of an U21 friendly against Ireland in Wrexham on Friday, March 26 (1pm).

Barden was thrust into the limelight at the start of the campaign when Krul and McGovern were away on international duty, doing little wrong as an under-strength City squad lost 3-1 at Luton in the League Cup first round.

During 2019-20 he had been on loan at Suffolk side Bury Town, playing regularly in the fourth tier of the non-league pyramid.

The towering 20-year-old was then an unused substitute regularly following Krul's thigh injury in November and had to come on at half-time of a 1-1 home draw with QPR in late December as McGovern damaged his hamstring, being unable to save a late penalty.

McGovern's season was effectively brought to an end by surgery but Krul was able to return to action for the next league game - only to be taken ill with Covid-19 and have to self-isolate for 10 days.

That brought an FA Cup third round start for Barden, making a series of good saves as Coventry were beaten 2-0 at Carrow Road, followed by the league win at Cardiff in which he was mostly well protected by City's defence.

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Ever since he has provided cover for Krul as January signing Orjan Nyland recovers full fitness after back surgery last year, with the Norway international only featuring on the bench for the first time during Sunday's 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Barden signed a new contract in March 2020 which extended his deal until 2022, with the option for a further year, and Canaries number one Krul praised his efforts in a recent interview.

The Holland international, who had loans at Falkirk and Carlisle as a youngster when coming through at Newcastle, believes Barden should be able to secure a good loan deal for next season.

"I’ve been in his position and he obviously wants more now," said Krul. “He needs to go out on loan next season and I think clubs will look at him now and see that he’s dealt with the highest level in the Championship. 

“So hopefully he can get a good loan because he has got the talent and now he needs to show it on a weekly basis. I’ve got all the belief in him, as in Archie as well, two top talents coming through. 

“So it’s exciting for them but they have to be patient.” 

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