Norwich City to benefit as Dawkin called-up

Michael Bailey Young winger Josh Dawkin was given an international boost yesterday - something Academy boss Ricky Martin believes will help him develop as a Norwich City player.

Michael Bailey

Young winger Josh Dawkin was given an international boost yesterday - something Academy boss Ricky Martin believes will help him develop as a Norwich City player.

The 18-year-old, who is likely to play a part in the Canaries' pre-season friendly at Chris Sutton's Lincoln City tonight (7.30pm), has been put on standby for the Wales Under-21 side ahead of their friendly international against Malta in Ta'Qali on August 10.

Last pre-season, Dawkin was playing in Norwich's more low key friendlies - such as the goalless draw played out by a young City XI at Ridgeons League First Division Diss Town last night.

This time round - and with his first professional contract signed in the summer - Dawkin has featured during friendlies at Stevenage and Dagenham and Redbridge, while fellow academy product Declan Rudd has been in goal for England Under-19s, as their European Championship challenge finally came unstuck with a 3-1 semi-final defeat to Spain yesterday afternoon.

But Martin believes playing against senior sides last season has helped both players so far - and will be the case for his latest Academy charges.

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“It's great for Josh to get that call-up, and he will have only got that because of his involvement with senior football recently,” said Martin. “Because he has had that, they will have seen that he can maybe make the step up internationally as well. And it's great for Declan today. Although the result was not great, it is great that he has competed and represented himself and the club in such great fashion with some very good performances.

“So for any young players that can get international recognition, it's very good for them and hopefully will further improve their football development at the club.”

Dawkin has won caps at under-17 and under-19 level for Wales, while another Academy product, defender David Stephens, has also been put on standby - no doubt influenced by his summer move to Scottish Premier League side Hibernian.

The Huntingdon-born winger signed his one-year deal last month, having made his senior debut in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy victory over Gillingham last October and his first start in the next round, at Swindon.

Only four second-year Academy scholars - captain Matt Ball, Richard Brindley, Remy Gordon and Alex Stephens - were involved at Brewers Green Lane last night.

But Martin believes the quartet, as well as the rest of City's youngsters, need to take note of how quick the football progression accelerates over the coming months.

Martin added: “Josh played last season in these games. We played Mildenhall last year, Norwich United and Dereham. So he will have had those experiences only 12 months ago and he has now hopefully moved on.

“There is a pathway being created now, and it's not just Josh but George Francomb as well, who has gone and done that. George played on Saturday just gone (against Newcastle United) and last year he will have been involved in this game.

“So the players out there should know that if they get the opportunity and they work hard and they get a professional contract, next pre-season it will be them at Carrow Road showing their manager what they can do.

“You've seen George Francomb running out. Well, 12 months ago he would have been my captain tonight. That's what happens in that 12 months. It's very quick and it's a very fast development, and it's a fast track into the senior group.

“That's where you find the ones that can deal with it, and unfortunately the ones that can't. But it is why our job is here, to try and produce as many players that can step on and let the senior group give them a chance to develop and work day in, day out and also in the matchday environment.”

Paul Lambert's squad travel to Sincil Bank tonight for their penultimate pre-season friendly with continuing question marks over the fitness of Korey Smith, Zak Whitbread and Stephen Hughes.

Steven Smith and Grant Holt are expected to be missing with ankle and thigh knocks respectively - with both doubtful for the start of the Championship campaign at home to Watford on August 6.

However, Jens Berthel Askou could feature after his wife gave birth last week.

t Tonight's game against Norwich legend Chris Sutton's League Two side kicks off at 7.30pm, tickets are �10 for adults and �5 concessions.