New contract for Omotoye proof of City's succession plan for Pukki
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Tyrese Omotoye's rise to the Norwich City first-team is a true success of the academy system that continues to develop top talents.
The 18-year-old has been propelled into the first-team after injuries to frontline options that left Daniel Farke turning to his development squads in search of a young option to fill the goalscoring void.
Whilst Omotoye hasn't been exposed to a raft of minutes since making the step up, there was one moment in the fixture against Sheffield Wednesday when he proved to the City boss that he could be trusted in a first-team environment.
As City were looking to wind down the clock and ensure they won the points, Josh Martin found Omotoye with a crossfield pass and instead of going for goal, the Belgian U16 youth international displayed maturity by taking the ball to the corner.
“It is always a good sign when you bring young players in and they are able to deliver,” said Farke. “Towards the end of the game Tyrese made the right decision to get the ball and head to the corner flag, and I praised when we analysed the game in our meeting.
"I told him before he went on not to be too greedy, not to get himself offside, not to be over-motivated or shooting from poor angles. It is still a long road to go.
"But they bring motivation, energy and in a positive way naivety. We will give them the stage.”
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Omotoye's rise to the Canaries first-team has been the result of hard work over a sustained period of time. The teenager joined City in 2012, after academy chiefs including Gregg Broughton, opened a recruitment centre at Samuel Montagu Youth Centre in Greenwich, London.
That centre was opened after the club wrote a national analysis of where academy graduates were commonly discovered. Omotoye was part of that centre, managed by youth coach Jay Marshall.
Omotoye was in the same age group as Bright Arrey-Mbi, the Bayern Munich defender who was part of the Canaries academy before joining Chelsea in 2014.
The striker went onto join the club as a U12 player and joined the Langley School programme used to support young players education whilst allowing them to continue their football development.
Over the next few seasons, Omotoye progressed through the youth ranks and was a consistent member of the U23 side despite only turning 18 in September. He has scored three league goals in nine appearances for David Wright's side this season.
Omotoye is now regularly training with Farke and City's first-team squad, and his new deal is yet further proof of the long-term succession plan for Teemu Pukki, with several candidates emerging from both City's academy and who are currently out on loan.
The first of those is Adam Idah. Despite only being a teenager, the powerful striker is a fully-fledged Republic of Ireland international and scored the Canaries opening goal of the season in the Championship, helping them beat Huddersfield Town 1-0.
Idah has been exposed to regular football this season before suffering with a foot injury whilst on international duty. The youngster was compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and saw speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United after his goalscoring exploits in the FA Youth Cup.
The sense amongst those inside the corridors of power at Colney was that Idah's recent injury prevented him from kicking on when it appeared he was on the cusp of proving his talent on the first-team stage. His return in February will give City a much-needed attacking boost.
Sebastian Soto is also an international footballer. The American elected to leave his home country as a youngster to travel to mainland Europe in pursuit of a professional football career.
Via a stop-off at German side Hannover, Soto signed for the Canaries hoping to refine his skills and achieve his dream of playing Premier League football. Work permit struggles have seen him shipped out to SC Telstar to play football, but his recent appearance for the US is believed to be enough to allow him to work in the UK.
Soto is expected to be recalled in January, with the City boss yet to see him play in the flesh.
The 20-year-old may even play for the Canaries in their FA Cup third-round fixture against Coventry City, then a decision will be taken as to whether he stays at Carrow Road or joins an English club on loan for the rest of the season.
Strikers are a notoriously difficult and expensive position to recruit for. Despite City's success in signing Pukki, commonly it is goal scorers who demand the megabucks. The Canaries have turned their attentions to developing talent, rather than recruiting especially considering their self-sustainable model doesn't provide significant funds for signing elite strikers.
These three candidates are only those currently in the building. City will continue to search for fresh talent to bolster their squad in the windows ahead.
Omotoye and Idah are proof of their approach in terms of the academy, Omotoye has progressed through the ranks whilst Idah was signed from his native Ireland in 2017. Soto is evidence of how else they will look to sign strikers, buy them young, develop them and then either they perform on the pitch or make the club money.
Pukki isn't going anywhere yet, but in those three options, Farke has a long-list of heirs for when the Finnish international does depart.