Best in class Canaries and the Premier League table to be proud of
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Norwich City did top one Premier League table – the Canaries were trail blazers when it came to game time for their academy talent.
Max Aarons led the way but eight of the club’s youngsters made top flight debuts during City’s relegation tilt.
Daniel Farke’s faith in youth saw Norwich amass a total of 10,944 playing minutes against some of the best teams in the world last season.
That edged out Chelsea (10,929), who could call on the likes of England internationals Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. Manchester United were also prominent (10,748) with Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood among their wave of academy talent. Aarons played a total of 3,240 minutes, according to official figures from the Premier League, with Ben Godfrey, Jamal Lewis and Todd Cantwell also used regularly.
Norwich have already made seven summer signings, with youth again at the core of their recruitment strategy, but Stuart Webber made it his mission to develop their own when he first arrived at Carrow Road in 2017.
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City’s sporting director insists that remains a key plank of the club’s longer term approach.
“Everyone saw Adam Idah and Josh Martin make Premier League debuts,” he said. “We signed Sam (McCallum) and Melvin (Sitti) early in the season as well, and who knows if any of those go on to replicate what Max and Jamal and Toddy and Ben have done so far. But the fact of the matter is that is a clear plan and philosophy and that’s what we want to try and do.
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“If we don’t give Daniel a good enough young player then we have a problem and, as he has said himself, he won’t give out gifts because that waters down the quality of the side.”
Aarons and Liverpool target Lewis both grasped their first team chance at Carrow Road after the likes of James Husband and Ben Marshall failed to convince. Such poor signings serve to underline the perils of relying solely on the transfer market.
“Some have worked out outstandingly well for us, some haven’t,” said Webber. “But we have to be philosophical about that in terms of not getting too caught up on the successes, like (Emi) Buendia or whatever, and not getting too down on the ones that go wrong, like Ben Marshall.
“In terms of recruitment, you’ll never get them all right.
“With the resources we deal with you have to take risk, like (Teemu) Pukki, or Buendia or (Tim) Krul or even Sean Raggett. That is our model. Risk versus reward.”