‘It was crazy’ - Taking on Defoe in front of 49,000 at Ibrox kick-started City prospect’s career
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Marking former England striker Jermain Defoe in front of almost 50,000 people was the moment that kick-started Akin Famewo’s hopes of making the grade for Norwich City this season.
After captaining City’s under-23s during the EFL Trophy during the first half of the season, the defender went on loan to Scottish Premiership side St Mirren in January - and soon found himself in at the deep end.
The 21-year-old had warmed up with a 3-0 home win over non-league Broxburn in the Scottish Cup fourth round but just four days later was starting at Ibrox as the Buddies were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Rangers in the top flight.
“It was crazy,” Famewo recalls. “Straight away from that game it was like ‘okay, yeah, I’m learning a lot right here’. Going from a cup game who weren’t quite the same level, to one of the top teams in the Scottish Prem.
“This league you learn a lot because there are a lot of different playing styles and different teams are at different levels. Some put the ball in behind so you need to be more wary of being on the back foot. And then a team like Rangers dominate, they love to play, so you know they’re not just going to be kicking it long and channel balls, these guys can really play.
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“So it was great for development in getting ready to adapt to different styles. At under-23s everyone likes to play, to pass the ball and not give the ball away, to be in possession.”
Famewo played every minute of 13 consecutive appearances during his stint at St Mirren, playing at centre-back, having previously picked up Football League experience with Luton and Grimsby prior to joining Norwich in January 2019.
That included the 1-0 home win over Hearts prior to football’s suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic - which has seen his loan club finish ninth with the season concluded early, clear of relegation worries.
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He continued: “My main goal, and it would be strange if it wasn’t, is to get in that first team. Before the next season I really want to be pushing for a spot in the first team and to really showcase myself in training and pre-season hopefully.
“So I can really put a mark on my name and say I’m here and I want to be playing for Norwich, to progress with the club. There’s always areas to improve, I don’t feel I’m done and dusted, I’ve got learning to do and I’m excited to. That’s a trait about myself, I enjoy learning and developing.”
- For more from our exclusive interview with Famewo, check back to this website tomorrow or see Saturday’s Eastern Daily Press or Norwich Evening News.