Roeder to scrutinise City Academy

Having turned around the fortunes of the first team, Canaries manager Glenn Roeder will spend time in the new year looking at the academy set up at Colney.

Having turned around the fortunes of the first team, Canaries manager Glenn Roeder will spend time in the new year looking at the academy set up at Colney.

But Roeder may decide to hold off fixing something which, in his own eyes, isn't broken.

“I think we run a very neat and tidy ship here,” said Roeder. “I like the guys who are working in the academy, from what I know of them so far, and it is a difficult part of the country; we're looking for Premiership players.

“There's not a lot of those born every year. Norfolk isn't famous for producing top Premiership players, for whatever reason, but the important thing is if there is a laddy born that's destined for great things, that we don't miss him, and I think generally speaking there's not been too many that we would've missed in the last 10 years.”

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As an exception to the rule, the name of England international defender Matthew Upson readily crops up. Currently playing for West Ham United, the 28-year-old was born near Diss, on the Norfolk-Suffolk boarder, but was signed up as a trainee for Luton Town.

“Someone keeps throwing Upson to me, so that's important; that if there's another Upson we don't miss him.

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“Having said that, we have got a terrific group of goalkeepers, local goalkeepers, which would be the envy of some of the top academies in the country. So they just keep being envious and go elsewhere.”

Goalkeepers Robert Green, Joe Lewis and Steven Arnold have all graduated from the Canaries' academy, with 16-year-old Declan Rudd looking set to continue the tradition, having represented England under-16s, plus midfielder Damon Lathrope was singled out for special praise from Roeder as the only positive to come out of Monday night's 5-1 reserve mauling by Ipswich.

Having learnt his way around the youth set up at St James' Park during his time in the North East, Roeder is a believer in the academy system, which was originally brought in by the Football Association. But although Roeder has plenty on his hands guiding the Canaries' first team safe from relegation, the set up at Colney won't escape his attention for long.

“I haven't been able to dip into it too much, but I definitely will do because I love the concept of academies.

“Because I was the academy manager at Newcastle for about seven or eight months, I have got a good insight into the workings of academies and I think in principle they're brilliant.

“There are so many things that, when the rules were first brought out, now are proving to be of little use; in fact they're more of a hindrance, but that's a discussion for another day.”

When Paul Stephenson was bought in from Hartlepool United by Roeder, it was with a view to looking at those coming through the academy at Colney, as well as the rest of the first team squad, but Roeder doesn't expect to be making any more changes to the youth set up in the foreseeable future.

“At the moment that'll be the last change, but you can never say never and everyone on the staff must understand that.

“We're looking to set the standards higher than they've ever been before here, so I don't want anyone thinking they can work in a comfort zone, because the comfort zone doesn't produce the best.

“I think you have to be a little bit on your toes and sometimes uncertain for what the future holds to be at your best and stretch yourself.”

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