Roeder can't count on his old heads

Chris Lakey Glenn Roeder is likely to have to do without three of his wishes tonight - a trio of experienced players dotted around his Norwich City line-up. The absence for the rest of the season of Dejan Stefanovic and of another 34-year-old, Antoine Sibierski, lowered the average age of the team that started at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to 23 - with all of those who featured under the age of 30.

Chris Lakey

Glenn Roeder is likely to have to do without three of his wishes tonight - a trio of experienced players dotted around his Norwich City line-up.

The absence for the rest of the season of Dejan Stefanovic and of another 34-year-old, Antoine Sibierski, lowered the average age of the team that started at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to 23 - with all of those who featured under the age of 30.

Not since September 12, 2006, at Southend, have City used solely sub-30 years old players. And not since September 27 the previous year, when the Canaries beat Hull 2-1, has it been the case at Carrow Road.


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And while Roeder considers it not ideal, he believes his current crop of young guns are value for money.

“If you have three players in different parts of the pitch around 30 that would be fine and the rest young players, the ones who have still got plenty to prove,” he said.

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Roeder has never been afraid to give youngsters their chance - Ryan Bertrand and Elliott Omozusi are both just 19 and last season's quartet of Ched Evans, Kieran Gibbs, James Henry and Alex Pearce were also teenagers.

“I think sometimes we forget that,” he said. “I take Elliott Omozusi and Ryan Bertrand just for granted. They are senior players but actually they are only teenagers. But then again if they are going to be as good as I think they are going to eventually be - and I mean good as in they are going to play in the Premiership week in, week out - they are going to have to handle that at 19.

“But, even the best 19-year-olds are going to make a few errors on their learning curve, but I have always believed in young players, enjoy working with young players and I can never understand the managers who say they wouldn't take someone on loan because they have no experience. My answer to that would be, 'so you're telling me the experienced player doesn't make mistakes', and of course he does. It's just young players need to find someone who believes in them - but there are too many managers that spend most of their lives scared out of their wits.

“My ideal team would have basically I suppose at least three older players in it that were around 30.”

The onus on tonight's young charges is to repair the damage done in the last two home games, when City were pegged back 2-2 by Preston and then beaten 3-2 at home by Swansea - but Roeder was in bullish mood when asked if his team owed the fans something.

“We owe ourselves one,” said Roeder. “I said after the game on Saturday that I was delighted for the players, their families People don't understand when things aren't going well the families get affected, your wife, your girlfriend, if you've got children at school they all get affected.

“The first place that was owed was to them and their families and anyone else who was connected to Norwich, whether at Colney or Carrow Road, everyone who has got any feeling for Norwich will see we all get the same result every week - we all win, we all draw, we all lose.

“And no supporter must ever, ever think that I am less wounded than they are when we lose. It hurts me badly when we lose, as bad as any of them. Just because you've supported a club for 50 years doesn't mean a person who's been at a club for one year is less wounded when you lose. I hate losing, full stop. That's why I will always fight my corner.”

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