Gunn in goal, Shackell at the back? What would a Norfolk ‘national’ football team look like?
- Credit: Archant
If Norfolk became an independent state, what would its national football team look like?
An amateur regional team already exists in Yorkshire and competes in the CONIFA World Cup for nations which are not recognised by FIFA, alongside states such as Tibet, Zanzibar and Northern Cyprus.
Further afield most Spanish regions such as Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia also have their own teams with stars which have included Barcelona's Gerard Pique, now-retired former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso and Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas.
But how would a team for Norfolk line-up? Below is a potential starting 11 and subs that were either born in the county or lived in it for five years prior to the age of 18 as FIFA's eligibility rules state:
Goalkeeper - Angus Gunn (Southampton): Born in Norwich, the 23-year-old starts in goal with strong competition from Preston's Declan Rudd, Aston Villa's Jed Steer and Aberdeen's Joe Lewis.
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Right-back - Reece Hall-Johnson (Northampton Town): Another one of City's youth cup heroes, Hall-Johnson played in midfield during his time with City's youth teams however he is now being deployed as a right-back for Northampton Town.
Centre-back - Jason Shackell (Lincoln City): A fan-favourite during his time at Norwich and a second Lincoln City player in the team, despite being born in Stevenage, Shackell began his career in the Canaries' academy.
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Centre-back - Michael Spillane (Chelmsford City): The former Republic of Ireland youth international progressed through Norwich's academy before featuring 26 times for the first team.
Left-back - Harry Toffolo (Lincoln City): A member of Norwich City's FA Youth Cup winning side, Toffolo has now made over 60 appearances for the Imps after joining from Millwall in 2018.
Defensive midfield - Tom Adeyemi (currently unattached): A controversial choice given that Adeyemi's last club was Ipswich Town, the defensive midfielder moved to Norwich at the age of five, joining the Canaries in 2000.
Right midfield - Josh Murphy (Cardiff City): Obviously qualifies the same way as his brother, Murphy who usually plays at left-back for Cardiff City has been shoehorned in on the right to fit both twins in.
Left midfield - Jacob Murphy (Sheffield Wednesday, on-loan from Newcastle United): Despite being born in Wembley, the Murphy twins qualify for the side having moved to Norwich at the age of 13.
Attacking midfield - Todd Cantwell (Norwich City): The only player in the team currently playing for the Canaries, born in Dereham, and a lifelong Norwich fan, perhaps Cantwell is a strong favourite for the captaincy.
Forward - Dom Dwyer (Orlando City): A product of King's Lynn's youth academy, Dwyer has been scoring for fun in the MLS, with 24 goals in 65 league appearances for Orlando City.
Forward - Chris Martin (Derby County): Despite being born in Suffolk, Martin joined the Norwich youth system in 1998 and went on to make over 100 appearances for the Canaries, he has since played for Derby County, Hull City and Fulham among others.
Manager - Paul Warne (Rotherham United)
Subs from: Declan Rudd (Preston), Jed Steer (Aston Villa), Joe Lewis (Aberdeen), Ian Henderson (Rochdale), Richard Brindley (Chelmsford City), Carlton Morris (Rotherham United, on-loan from Norwich City), Cameron McGeehan (Barnsley), Cameron Norman (Walsall), Luke Hannant (Cambridge United)
You can select your Norfolk-qualified XI from the options in the list above or make suggestions for other eligible candidates in the comments section of this article.
- Academy products such as Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons and Ben Godfrey have been omitted as they joined the club from other youth sides meaning they would have not spent five years with the club prior to their 18th birthday.