City development chief proud of talent pipeline
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Andrew Omobamidele’s seamless rise to become a Championship title winner with Norwich City marked another tick in the box for the Canaries’ impressive academy.
Head coach Daniel Farke paid a glowing tribute to the work of the club’s development set up following the teenage centre back’s late season breakthrough alongside captain Grant Hanley.
Omobamidele has now earned a first call up to the Republic of Ireland squad for upcoming summer friendlies, and City’s head of football development Steve Weaver admits the teenager’s rise is a source of pride.
“We can look back at three or four first team debuts and a centre back who plays seven or eight games at the end in a team who wins the Championship. We can be very proud of that,” he said. “We had a small squad (at under-23s level), a really settled team and we got through into the EFL Trophy later stages, and were also really high in the league.
"Then the first team has an injury crisis and four or five of those lads go with the first team.
"So you end up lower on numbers at that level, and with Andrew stepping up, and Josh Martin already having made that move, and Tyrese (Omotoye) going out on loan you are left without those type of players.
"That team suffered a lot, and probably never recovered in terms of results, but as a group it did ever so well.”
Highly-rated striker Omotoye made his first team debut around the turn of the year but found chances harder to come by in Swindon’s failed League One survival bid.
“He will have learnt an awful lot about the game, and he can come back here and continue on his journey,” said Weaver, speaking to the club’s Youtube channel. “With Tyrese we felt he had probably gone past the 23s but is still very young so we sent him to Swindon. If there isn’t a first team opportunity here we have to create opportunities.
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“The problem with any loan is they tend to come towards the end of an academy journey. You have a choice to make then. Either they stay with a 23s group, but the worry is then maybe they become a bit stagnant, things become a bit easy, or you are in our first team, or you go and play football in a different environment. Each decision we make is player-led.”