Spanish concern for City’s young brave
DAVID CUFFLEY One of Norwich City's brightest prospects may be absent from their pre-season trip to Scotland - but tonight he undertakes a vital mission as part of the young Tartan Army.
One of Norwich City's brightest prospects may be absent from their pre-season trip to Scotland - but tonight he undertakes a vital mission as part of the young Tartan Army.
Versatile defender Andrew Cave-Brown looks set to keep his place in the Scotland side taking on favourites Spain in the European Under-19 Championships in Poland.
It's a case of country before club for the 17-year-old full-back, who has just signed his first professional contract with the Canaries, but could miss all their pre-season matches if the Scots gets through the initial group stage of the competition.
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Cave-Brown played the whole 90 minutes on Tuesday night as Scotland drew 2-2 with Portugal in their opening Group B game in Szamotuly, having led 2-0 after half an hour.
They may need at least a draw against Spain in Pobiedziska before taking on Turkey in their final group game on Sunday, but however long he's away on international duty, Cave-Brown goes with the blessing of all at Carrow Road.
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“Nigel would have liked Andrew in Scotland with the first team squad, but he's away for a very good reason,” said City's Academy manager, Ricky Martin.
“His international experience will add to his football education and we're delighted for him.”
Cave-Brown, who signed a one-year deal with the Canaries - who have the option of giving him a second year - made his first senior appearance as a late substitute in the FA Cup defeat by West Ham in January.
Twice youth team player of the season, he is the only English-based player to feature in the Scotland squad in Poland. A Charlton fan who joined City in 2004, he qualifies for Scotland through his parents, and will be 18 next month.
“Andrew has done extremely well since joining us. He is a very focused, determined young man and a credit to himself on and off the field,” said Martin.
“He's always striving to enhance his game and over the last 12 months there has been a big development in his game, a major aspect of which has been his consistency. He plays and trains to a very high level and you know what kind of performance you are going to get from Andrew.
“He has progressed through into the reserves and last season got his opportunity in the first team, and he fully deserves his professional contract.
“He's a very intelligent player. We have played him at centre-back and he reads the game very well. His game intelligence is very good and he is a natural leader. He's very honest in that he understands areas of his game he needs to work on. He doesn't think he's a better player than he is.”
The Scots, under the guidance of Tommy Wilson and Archie Gemmill, are the only home nation to have qualified for the European Under-19 competition, the final of which is on July 29. It's the first time a Scottish youth side has qualified for a major tournament in 20 years.
If they make the last four, they will automatically be entered into the 2007 World Championships in Canada.
Scotland Under-19 v Spain Under-19, live, British Eurosport, 5pm.