‘That Youth Cup run the first year was great’ - Canaries striker thankful for academy education
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Catching the eye during an FA Youth Cup run played a major role in shaping Adam Idah’s path to a first-team breakthrough.
The 18-year-old striker became the Canaries' youngest ever hat-trick scorer during Saturday's 4-2 win at Preston in the FA Cup third round, after two seasons of prolific goal-scoring at youth levels for City and the Republic of Ireland.
That academy progress was kicked off by a 10-minute treble in a Youth Cup win over Barnsley at Carrow Road just over two years ago, with Idah and Max Aarons playing influential roles in a run which ended in the quarter-finals, losing 3-1 to Birmingham at home.
"That Youth Cup run the first year was great," he reflected. "We had a great team then and we did get far but we were unfortunate to lose to Birmingham.
"After that the club knew that we had a great bunch of players. To push on from there and progress is really good."
Idah has now joined Aarons in the first team, alongside fellow academy graduates Todd Cantwell, Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis.
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"Obviously they were young when they came in as well, for the boss to throw them in the squad, look how well they did," he added.
"For me, just looking at them it is a good pathway for a youth player. You need that belief and you need to be brave as well once you get that opportunity, that's what football is about really, taking your chances."
His Deepdale hat-trick came as Idah made just his second start for City yet with Teemu Pukki and Josip Drmic trying to shake off hamstring problems, and with Dennis Srbeny seemingly closing on a January return to Germany, the Irishman could find himself starting against Manchester United on Saturday.
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On the prospect of a Premier League start at Old Trafford, he joked: "I was just saying to the boss, Teemu could be back by then, hopefully. So I've just got to work hard and train even harder. If it comes to that then obviously I'll look to take my opportunity but, if not, I'll just keep going."
There were 833 fans at Preston for the cup tie, who saw Idah score the penalty which sealed his hat-trick in front of the away end.
"Fair play to them for coming," he added. "To celebrate the third goal with them was just a great feeling for me."