City confirm signing of young Southend striker
- Credit: Archant
Norwich City have confirmed the signing of young Southend United striker Kenny Coker for an undisclosed fee.
The teenager has made five first-team appearances for the relegated League Two outfit during his time at the club and has impressed for their U18s. Coker will join up with the Canaries' U18 squad ahead of their new season.
Coker has already made two appearances for City's U18 side, and set up a goal for Oscar Thorn in their final day 3-2 defeat to Aston Villa on Tuesday. The striker has been on trial at Colney, with that set to be made permanent.
He was previously on the books on non-league sides Bowers & Pitsea and Billericay Town. He made his senior debut aged just 16 when Southend were beaten by Lincoln City in February 2020. Coker became the third youngster player to play for the Shrimpers.
Norwich tend to look to recruit strikers at an early age in an attempt to develop them inside their own academy rather than spending big bucks on frontline options.
Speaking about the departure, Southend academy boss Ricky Duncan told the club's official website: “We played Norwich during the season and Kenny had a really good game which highlighted him. He’s something different which they haven’t got.
“They came and watched him a few times and he was scoring quite regularly.
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“When they came in for him then the two clubs had to agree which they did eventually. Kenny went and had a trial up there to make sure it was what he wanted to do and it was a big decision for him and his dad because they live locally.
“I think the draw for him going to a Category 1 Academy at a club that have just been promoted to the Premier League was too much to resist and from our point of view it’s another pathway for players at the club.
“I know that fans want to see them go into our first team and so do we, but these clubs can come along and we have to accept that we’re going to lose a few every now and then.
“The first pathway is our first team, and Kenny did do that with us at Southend.
“But it’s hard to stop a young lad going to a club at their level. Hopefully if we can get back up to the Championship, I think then it's harder for players to leave us, but at the moment where we are it’s a great opportunity for him.
“Financially for the football club, if we’re not producing players for our first team but we’re bringing finances in, then we’re doing both jobs."