Cave-Brown keen to return

Andrew Cave-Brown admits he is champing at the bit after suffering a frustrating three and a half months out of the game - and looking forward to a World Cup adventure next year.

Andrew Cave-Brown admits he is champing at the bit after suffering a frustrating three and a half months out of the game - and looking forward to a World Cup adventure next year.

The Canaries defender was stretchered off just 27 minutes after making his first start for the Canaries, in the Carling Cup victory at Torquay in August, and was later diagnosed with ligament and cartilage damage.

The 18-year-old, who signed pro terms at Carrow Road in the summer, underwent surgery but is back in full training and could be in line for a competitive recall on Saturday morning, when the academy team take on their Arsenal counterparts at Colney (11am).

Cave-Brown is keen to get his career back on track as soon as possible - knowing he has to impress new Canaries manager Peter Grant as well as Archie Gemmill, who will lead the Scotland Under-20 team that will take part in the World Cup in Canada next summer.

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Having played a major part in Scotland's surprise journey to the final of the European Under-19 Championship in Poland in the summer, Cave-Brown is keen to have another shot on the international stage - but admits it's a case of first things first.

“It's just a case of getting some minutes under my belt and luckily enough I am still young enough to be eligible to play for the youth team,” he said. “The game at Torquay seems so long ago - it was warm then and it's certainly not now.

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“For the past week and a half I've been training with the youth team and I've just had my first training session with the first team - and it was pretty tough.

“I know I have a difficult job in front of me. We have a great squad of players and it will be difficult, but hopefully when I get my fitness back I can prove what I can do.

“It's been a long three and a half months but with Christmas coming up there aren't many youth and reserve-team games so I have to take my chances when they come.

“One of the problems this season is the lack of reserve games and that will be a problem. It's going to be difficult to get back into the first team scene. I want to be able to play as much reserve team football as I can and it could be frustrating - you can train as much as you like but there is nothing like playing games for getting back to proper fitness.”

Cave-Brown had one first team appearance under his belt - as a sub in the third round FA Cup tie against West Ham last January - before stepping out at Plainmoor for his full debut.

“It was a feeling of elation at the time,” he recalled. “And as the game went on I was happy that I was doing pretty well and then came the injury. It was a setback, but those things happen from time to time in football and you have to get on with it. Hopefully I will come back stronger for it.”

Top of Cave-Brown's list of people to impress is Grant.

“He's a good man and he understands what has happened and I don't think he will judge me on things that happened before he came here,” Cave-Brown said. “I believe he will give me a fair chance when I am fit and ready.”

Should Cave-Brown be able to show his true colours in the yellow and green, then Gemmill is likely to come calling with a ticket to Canada for the Under-20s World Cup next July - Scotland having earned their place there by virtue of their runners-up spot in the Under-19 European Championship in the summer.

“I am really looking forward to it, but at the end of the day my place is not guaranteed,” he said. “When I suffered my injury my thoughts did turn to the World Cup and the prospect of it affecting my chances. But if I am playing and not playing well, I won't get in the squad, simple as that.”

One thing that is patently obvious is the total lack of a Scottish accent - Cave-Brown was born in England but qualifies for Scotland through his Glaswegian mother, Joanne.

“I was asked to play at under-15 level and I've been involved ever since,” he explained. “If I was ever asked to play for England I'd say no, I'd stay with Scotland.”

Academy boss Ricky Martin is keeping his fingers crossed that Cave-Brown stays within the Scotland radar as far as Canada is concerned.

“What a prospect he has ahead of him, playing in the World Cup finals,” said Martin, who oversaw Cave-Brown's rise to pro status in the summer.

“From his point of view he wants to carry on where he left off - and that was in the first team. He has to get himself back on track and in that squad as soon as he can and if we can help him play with the youth team to get him fit we will.”

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