‘We can play better’ – City academy chief has high hopes after good start to Youth Cup campaign

Steve Weaver previews the FA Youth Cup clash between Norwich City and Newcastle United at Carrow Roa

Steve Weaver previews the FA Youth Cup clash between Norwich City and Newcastle United at Carrow Road. Picture: Sonya Duncan/Archant 2019 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Academy manager Steve Weaver is confident there is more to come from Norwich City’s under-18 squad, after an exciting start to their FA Youth Cup campaign.

The young Canaries beat Newcastle 3-2 at Carrow Road on Tuesday, with winger Josh Martin scoring an impressive hat-trick, and will host either Manchester United or Lincoln City in the next round.

"We've shown signs of what we can do, I think we can play better and they know they can play better as a team," said Weaver after the victory.

"But it's a big thing for the kids and they've got another game to play here again in the next round in January. It will be a great night, whoever we play, Lincoln or Manchester United, it will be another really good night for the kids to show what they can do."

Supporters at the game got to see how academy staff are trying to develop players using the same attacking and possession-based style of play that Daniel Farke uses at first team level.

"That's the way we play throughout the club," Weaver added. "We're probably slightly different in that we try and play with two strikers. That's not tactically, that's just because they are harder to find at first team level aren't they. If we need to go and find one of them it costs us a lot of money, so we try and produce as many as we can.

"But we try and play in the same way, pass the ball and as you saw from Josh, he kind of plays in that similar role to Emi (Buendia) and Todd Cantwell, he's allowed to drift and play, he's got a bit of freedom. So yeah it was good and the lads at the back were okay but there were times when they had their chances that were tactical, but that's the two teams (U18 and U23) coming together."

MORE: Hat-trick hero Martin thankful for patience after tough start in Norfolk

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The former Wrexham and Wolves assistant manager, who has spent much of his coaching career at academy levels, was in charge due to U18s coach Paul Williams being unwell.

"He's just ill, got a virus, it's knocked him about a bit," Weaver explained. "He was a little bit unsure of what it was to start with and I just said 'take your time off, mate, it's really important you get yourself right'.

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"Hopefully he'll be back with us pretty soon and be ready for the next round."

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