The promising signs Norwich City’s supply line will be renewed

Reece Hall-Johnson is one of those impressing for Norwich City's youth teams. Canaries will be hopin

Reece Hall-Johnson is one of those impressing for Norwich City's youth teams. Canaries will be hoping the number of academy starlets making the grade will rise over the coming years. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant copyright 2012

Norwich City defender George Francomb is still learning the ropes – this perhaps explains some of his Twitter output this week, which ran from the ridiculous to the sublime and then back again.

He was a little loose in his labelling of Norwich fans who tweeted Grant Holt over that penalty. Francomb wasn’t complimentary. We are also yet to find out exactly how costly the City number nine’s failure from 12 yards will prove to be.

Francomb just about redeemed himself moments later – although I doubt it was deliberate – as he asked his Twitter followers for help with a quiz clue he was trying to solve: four pictures that included a mohawk, a graffiti form of the word ‘anarchy’ and someone resembling Johnny Rotten circa 1977. Below that were four spaces earmarked for each letter of the answer – and if that wasn’t enough, there was also a helpful bundle of jumbled letters that included K, U, N and P.

Fortunately for George, a few souls on Twitter pointed him the right direction.

On much better form was a tweet later that day after Francomb helped City’s Under-21 squad to a superb 5-1 win at Crystal Palace – even better was the fact the game wasn’t played at Selhurst Park. No one wants that.

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“Good run out for the 21s tonight. Great team performance. Some good young lads in the group at the mo #playedlads,” tweeted Francomb. And he’s right.

Even before the new EPPP – Elite Player Performance Plan – structure for youth development in this country gets going properly, it seems City could have a useful group of starlets on their hands. Away from the likes of Francomb and Korey Smith, who have been professionals for some time and are approaching the point where they need longer-term spells away from Carrow Road to get games, the youth set-up already has two young professionals in highly rated twins Josh and Jacob Murphy.

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The fact Under-18s boss Neil Adams is happy to go on record saying the pair have what it takes to play in the top flight one day speaks volumes. But it doesn’t stop there. Defender Harry Toffolo is making his way with England Under-19s, while the likes of Reece Hall-Johnson continue to impress.

And that’s only the Under-18 set-up, where City will soon make a rare foray into the last-eight with their impending trip to Everton.The Canaries’ Under-21 side is almost an entirely separate beast these days. And that was always the idea of the EPPP – to help provide a bridge to take players beyond 18 and into the early 20s, whereas previously their development dropped off a cliff once a player became an adult.

Clearly there are drawbacks. City have a lot of players getting to an age where they need to be playing men’s football – and there won’t be room for 95 per cent of them at Carrow Road, never mind the ones following behind.

And how do you produce a player good enough for the most fiercely competitive domestic football division in the world?

But despite being the earliest of signs, there is plenty of promise that over the coming years, City can produce players that will have good professional careers in England – and the odd diamond that can make a real impact here at Carrow Road.

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