Having been hammered 7-0 at Old Trafford in their last match, Norwich City’s U21 Development team will face Chelsea today, hoping for a better return.
To be fair though, United included experienced first team players including Memphis Depay, Phil Jones and Adnan Januzaj in that last game and 18-year-old defender Michee Efete says City’s development side are keen to get playing again.
“We`re looking forward to it after the United game, because we want to put things right,” Efete said. “In that match we tried to do everything we could, but it was difficult against a side with their experience. We`ll take lessons from that, and from facing players like Memphis Depay, into our future games. Obviously we have a very young team, so we know it`s going to be a tough against Chelsea. They have players who could be in other teams` senior sides, which means it`s going to be a good test for us.”
The Canaries go into the game second bottom in the 12-team Division One table, with two draws and two defeats since dishing out a hammering of their own to Southampton (7-2) at Carrow Road last November. Jamar Loza, who is now on loan at Southend, scored five of those goals and Efete has seen several others ‘senior’ team mates also go out on loan, leaving some of the club`s younger players to play in the higher age group, like promising 16-year-old winger Glenn Middleton.
U21s coach Dmitri Halajko, speaking to City`s website, added: “There were times where we were exposed against United, albeit against very good, world-class players. The players have reacted in a good way in terms of looking at themselves and what they can learn from it. No-one enjoys losing a game by that margin, but they`ve dusted themselves off and thought about what they can do better ready for the next game.”
Last week’s game against United was clearly a mis-match but I got the impression that the City staff knew that was likely to be the case but opted to give their youngsters the chance to play at Old Trafford against some top class players. Of course I hope not, but some of our boys may never play there again.
Chelsea will be no easier task for the very young City U21 side, as the Blues have one of the most expensively assembled youth teams in world football. However, as they discovered in 2013 against Neil Adams’ youngsters in the FA Youth Cup, money doesn’t always buy success.