Be Premier League stars with us. City chief’s message to coveted youngsters
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Stuart Webber is urging Norwich City’s brightest talent to prove they are Premier League class with the Canaries.
City’s sporting director insists he has had no firm interest in the likes of Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey or Jamal Lewis, and reiterated on Thursday they are not for sale.
Aarons has previously been linked with Tottenham in the January transfer window and again last month. Godfrey is another who has been touted with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal after impressive breakthrough seasons at Carrow Road.
Webber knows City’s stance will not stop transfer speculation this summer, but feels they are at the right club to kick on again in the top flight.
“They are top players so you expect there will be interest. But the nice thing is we don’t have to sell them,” he said. “Whether we get a ridiculous offer that is football and we see where it goes. But I would say to any of our younger players, ‘go and prove yourselves here’.
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“They have proven themselves in the Championship but here they have a coach and a club that will back them to go and do it on the greatest stage of all, at places like Old Trafford, and show that you deserve to play on that level.
“Our young players should be thinking not just about playing in the Premier League but becoming top Premier League players.
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“They have shown they are top Championship players and all credit to them.
“Now it’s the next level. They have to stay humble. If they go five per cent off that they will lose their way, and it’s something we have to guard against.”
Webber and his recruitment team are focused on attracting fresh blood, and finding another gem or two like Teemu Pukki.
“It is difficult but that is our job. That is my job, Kieran’s (Scott) and his team,” he said. “We have to be constantly looking at that type of player. That is the challenge and we have to do that because we don’t have the ability to buy a £30m version of Teemu Pukki, which might bring a level of certainty.
“Then we have to create an environment so when they come in they can thrive. Teemu would say he came into a club that wanted him, developed him and a coach who loved him.
“All of those things helped make it work. He was respected and looked after and we got the best out of him.
“We need that attitude because our style must remain the same. The strategy changes. You can’t go toe-to-toe with Liverpool at Anfield or you could be four goals down inside 10 minutes.
“We have to go with the same attitude and if we are not good enough then we can be sure we haven’t bottled it.”