Winger ready to work hard for his Norwich City chance after big decision to move south
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City Under-23s are in Germany preparing for the new season so David Freezer caught up with new boy Aidan Fitzpatrick about his summer switch.
Aidan Fitzpatrick had a big decision to make this summer, after his breakthrough season with Partick Thistle.
The 18-year-old winger featured regularly last season for the Scottish Championship club he'd been with since he was 11 and news of Norwich City's interest had already become public in January.
Partick boss Gary Caldwell had said it would take an 'extraordinary bid' as the Jags played hardball but the Canaries returned and sealed the deal at the start of this month, amid reports of Celtic and Rangers keeping an eye on the situation.
So while Norwich reportedly agreed an initial £350,000 for the Scotland U18 international, with potential performance related add-ons and a sell-on fee, Fitzpatrick had to decide whether he was ready to travel south of the border for a new challenge.
As much as the temptation to join a far wealthier club which had just been promoted to the Premier League was strong, he knew it would probably mean swapping first-team football for U23 games to start with.
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After five goals in 28 matches for Thistle last season, Fitzpatrick has put his faith in Norwich to help him keep developing, starting with pre-season in Germany with his new team-mates.
"It was big, obviously it wasn't easy," the youngster said of his decision. "I was enjoying my time at Partick, there was nothing there that I was looking at and didn't like or anything.
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"Obviously the Premier League isn't something you can turn down, so I had to take it. Hopefully it works out better for me but I'm just looking forward to seeing how it goes."
As with all of City's U23 new boys, the Scot could look to Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey, Jamal Lewis and Todd Cantwell for evidence of City's youthful emphasis, with Adam Idah the latest example to give the younger lads hope.
"I knew in my head that I was coming in to play 23s," Fitzpatrick continued. "But even that was something where I've come here to improve myself and hopefully get a chance of the first team.
"But my job is 23s so I've just got to do my best."
He added: "A lot of people said that Daniel Farke is not afraid to play young boys, so if I do my job, train well and play well, hopefully the gaffer realises that and gives me a chance."
A traditional element of pre-season life on tour is new players singing in front of their team-mates and the winger stuck to his Scottish roots with a rendition of 'I would Walk 500 Miles' by The Proclaimers.
"That's not my game!" he said with a smile. "But I got up on the first night actually, me and a few of the boys, so it's nice to get it out of the way."
Overall Fitzpatrick is enjoying life in Germany so far, as the fitness work has built towards a friendly against Farke's old club SV Lippstadt this evening (6pm UK time).
He continued: "It's a great group of boys, coaching staff walk past you and say hello so there's nothing to worry about in getting along with people.
"It's a good changing room so it's a good place to be at the moment."
A couple of Scotland internationals in the senior squad as well as fellow new boy Archie Mair, a Scotland U19 keeper signed from Aberdeen, have all helped the teen to settled in.
"The coaches at Partick were saying about Kenny McLean and Grant Hanley, that they'll look after you and make you feel welcome," Fitzpatrick said. "So that was something I was looking forward to, coming down and knowing there was people who would look after you.
"But obviously not just them but the full first-team squad make you feel welcome, look after you and make you feel like you're not out of place and like you've been at the club for a while."
"The mood around the camp is buzzing, with the Premier League, everyone can't wait to start and with the way last season turned out you know what can happen."
After an encouraging season for Partick, the wide man is looking forward to showing Canaries fans what he can do.
"I'm a winger, right or left, my main game is just getting at players one-v-one, either inside or outside," he concluded.
"But the way I've been training the last few days the coaches have been wanting me to come inside, so it's up to me to adapt my game to be good enough playing either way.
"But if you can play inside or outside then defences are obviously going to struggle more so it's up to me to adapt. I'm a direct player, speedy and I like to get goals as well."