Steer in the Wright direction

Michael Bailey Norwich City goalkeeping coach Tommy Wright has hailed the club's next generation of number ones, but with a note of caution - patience is a virtue.The former Northern Ireland international took over coaching the Canaries' shot-stoppers in May and now counts Scotland international David Marshall and England youth 'keepers Declan Rudd and Jed Steer among his protégés.

Michael Bailey

Norwich City goalkeeping coach Tommy Wright has hailed the club's next generation of number ones, but with a note of caution - patience is a virtue.

The former Northern Ireland international took over coaching the Canaries' shot-stoppers in May and now counts Scotland international David Marshall and England youth 'keepers Declan Rudd and Jed Steer among his protégés.

With finances tight at Carrow Road there have already been some murmurs between fans that Norwich may have to cash in on one of their hot prospects and Premier League giants Chelsea have already been reported to be contemplating a move for highly-rated England Under-16 international Steer.


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But Wright is adamant City's young 'keepers are the best around and Colney remains the best place for their goalkeeping education, despite the likelihood they will need to bide their time to get their chance on the big stage - something that would be the case at any club.

“I work with Dec on a daily basis and Jed once a week, because he's still at school, and the two of them are great talents,” said Wright. “When we say about Marshy being 23, they are 18 and 16 respectively, so there is a long way to go. But certainly I would say in their own particular age groups, there wouldn't be many better in the country and that's proved because they are both in England squads.

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“They've both got to realise they have a lot of hard work ahead of them, which I know they do because they are a pleasure to work with, they are responsive to what you tell them and the two of them have really got a great chance of making a professional career. “And the thing is they may have to be patient because as you look around - particularly in the higher league, the Premier League, which I feel both possibly have the capabilities of playing in - there are not too many English 'keepers and not too many young English 'keepers playing at the top level.”

With Colney having produced Robert Green and Joe Lewis in recent years, the Canaries' goalkeeping output has been an impressive one - something which looks set to continue.

Rudd signed his first professional deal in the summer, while much has been said on the potential of Steer, but Wright is not worried about talking up his goalkeeping class and drawing attention to them, so long as everyone realises it is early days in the pair's careers.

“It is nice to be able to talk about how we rate them, but there has to be that air of caution, that they've a long way to go in their development as goalkeepers,” added Wright.

“We don't think Marshy has reached his prime at 23. Jed has got seven years on that and Dec another five, and a lot can happen in that time.

“It depends how they mature as people, how they develop physically as well but they've got all the attributes and I don't think it is wrong to highlight that.

“But it is also right to say having those attributes and having the ability are just two parts of what can make you a top goalkeeper. You need a lot of hard work and mentally you need to be really strong.”

And Wright is not about to give his backing to Rudd or Steer disappearing off to the academy of a bigger fish - for him, he hopes the pair will be on the training fields of Colney for seasons to come.

“As a club we don't want to lose our best young players. They are the future of the club and I'm hoping to they are going to be here for a long time.”

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