Questions about the youth set-up

YOU would imagine that as two 18-year-olds and two 19-years-old - supplemented by a 21-year-old - signed new loan deals at Norwich this week there was one man surveying the arrivals with particular interest: Ricky Martin.

YOU would imagine that as two 18-year-olds and two 19-years-old - supplemented by a 21-year-old - signed new loan deals at Norwich this week there was one man surveying the arrivals with particular interest: Ricky Martin.

The Man is not for one moment suggesting that Ricky has not been doing a decent job, but the arrival of five youngsters from other clubs must ask questions about the Norwich's current youth set-up.

Because, as painful as it may be for all of us to admit, how many of our young players were deemed good enough to fill the gaps that Glenn's squad cleansing has created?

A big, fat zero. Zilch.

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And that is a problem, especially for a club like Norwich.

Neil Warnock built Palace's revival on their youth team graduates - Roeder had no such luxury.

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You would imagine that once Glenn completes the miracle and keeps us in this division, one of the first things he'll be doing is sitting down with Ricky and the other coaches to find out exactly what the plan is. Is there a plan?

There is no doubt the FA's ludicrous geography rules surrounding youth players have damaged us.

Again, it's painful to admit, but the likes of Eadie, Bellamy, and Green were not Norfolk boys.

We had to ship them in, something the FA won't let us do anymore.

It is also true that the absence of a proper reserve league inhibits our young players' development, which is a major problem.

However, despite these limitations, I see no reason why the club can't still have a productive youth system, one from which we should expect at least one player to be knocking on the first team door each season.

We might not have the South London estates to trawl for talent, but there should still enough out there for us, especially as we have a monopoly.

For The Man, the success of young players is as much a question of attitude as natural resources.

Chris Martin exploded on to the scene last year, and although his form dipped towards the end of the campaign, there is no doubt he is a good player.

He may not be blessed with pace, but he has a great touch, and that little bit of self-confidence that is required.

Yet this season he has gone backwards, just when he should be putting his foot on the gas and establishing himself as a first team contender. Why?

The Man, for one, felt a bit embarrassed after watching Ched's performance for us in the home game against Plymouth, soon after he joined.

He absolutely ran his nuts off. He chased every ball.

When you hear these young Arsenal players talk, they are bang on the money in terms of attitude, and they are a lot higher up the food chain. We need the same approach.

If Ipswich can keep churning out kids, then we must be able to replicate at least 50 per cent of their success.

It is a tough ask, but you just get the feeling that now we are relying on other youth teams to fill our squad gaps, we need to have a proper review of what we are doing in our own backyard.

FOOTBALL can be a cruel game.

Only a few weeks ago The Man heard Robert Green on Radio Five Dead talking about the benefits of playing for a massive (huge) club like West Ham.

He said turning out for a big team such as the Hammers (no major trophy in 28 years), meant you were taken seriously in the England squad.

Greeno said that as good a club that Norwich was, he would never have a real chance of breaking into the England team while remaining a yellow.

Just a shame he can't even get in the squad since his move isn't it...OTBC.

THE MAN does not want to indulge in too much more bashing of passionate Newcastle, as it is turning into a national past-time.

But golly gosh, don't they make it easy?

This week they appointed a "vice president" of player transfers.

A what? Dear oh dear.

It was also interesting to note that despite the return of King Kev, players were not falling over themselves to sign for the passionate Geordies during this transfer window.

Local lad Jonathan Woodgate - the one who looks like an ugly girl - even snubbed them in favour of a move to Spurs.

It strikes me that passionate Newcastle are the footballing equivalent of the 37-year-old blokes you get in nightclubs, trying to chat up women half their age.

They can't accept the fact that things have changed, life has moved on, and they haven't "got it" anymore.

It's all rather tragic, and I'd imagine Keegan will be gone within 18 months. Still, at least we have benefited from their idiocy and delusion.

THIS week Birmingham revealed they were giving a trial to a striker who has to be the most aptly named player of his generation: Carlos Costly.

Alex McLeish must have thought one of his mates was on a wind up when he got the Costly DVD through the post, but the Honduran hitman is indeed a real person.

And with more than £150 million spent in the transfer window, Mr Costly is costlier than ever.

The Man wonders what players are going to emerge next?

Are we going to get a Gheorghe Get-Out-Clause?

As for Glenn's work in the transfer window, The Man is more than satisfied, it is an effective means to an end.

Kieran Gibbs' switch from London Colney to Norwich Colney is of particular interest - especially if it could lead to the sort of long-term relationship between the clubs that got Birmingham promoted last season.

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