City boss Bryan Gunn last night paid tribute to rising star Tom Adeyemi after his thunderbolt earned a 1-1 draw with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester Utd XI.
Adeyemi really was the star of the show in the first-half and his goal apart, he looked the part in the engine room alongside Owain Tudur Jones.
Showing guile and energy, he was the standout player for the first 45 at least and to shine when in direct opposition with some of the country's finest prospects will give the 17-year-old a huge boost.
It was his peach of an effort from the edge of the box on 21 minutes that gave the home side the lead after good work from Chris Martin and despite Utd levelling late on through Richie De Laet, all the talk afterwards was of the Academy prospect.
Whether he can propel himself into contention for a starting berth come August 8th is now the burning question. And with Tudur Jones, Matt Gill and Stephen Hughes for company, Gunn has plenty of options going into the season opener against Colchester.
“Tom's pushed himself up there,” said Gunn afterwards. “It was good sitting there with Ian Crook, analysing his performance today and he looked at me and said 'Tom's given you a problem'.
“That's what managers want, we've built our squad up and we want competition for places. Tom's in there competing for a spot in midfield and today he showed what a good player he is.
“He's an excellent prospect and that's the reason why he played today. Tom started right at the grass roots with Football In The Community and he's made his way straight into the first team, so what a story that is.
“He didn't look overawed by Manchester Utd today and he took the game to them. I encouraged him to shoot before the game, and the goal he scored was top-drawer.
“He then had another opportunity later on in the half, so it was a good opportunity for him to show his promise.
“He's been doing that all through pre-season and I always said we were looking forward to introducing some of the academy scholars from into the first team squad. He's certainly introduced himself in fine fashion.”
As for yesterday's Carrow Road clash ? played out in front of over 13,000 ? a draw was probably about right and it was a tale of two halves in truth.
City should have been more than one goal to the good at the break, despite a well saved penalty from Ben Alnwick, after Tudur Jones, Martin and Jamie Cureton all went close. But the Canaries faded in the second-half and the Utd youngsters deserved their draw.
However, Gunn and Co will take great heart in a dominant first-half performance, even if the real pre-season test starts on Tuesday at Crystal Palace, followed by Wigan at home next Saturday.
“I was speaking to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the tunnel at the end and he said we'd given them a bit of a run around in the first-half.
“I would return the compliment and say they gave us a run around in the second-half, we made some changes at half-time but I think they got into the game later on.
“It was a hot day, the pitch was a bit dry but all-in-all, I think it was a good day's work. It was good to see an excellent crowd and we introduced a lot of the new players to the stadium and to the fans.
“I think we can take all the positives out of the game that we need to.”
Gunn's opposite number certainly agreed that the Canaries had given the visitors a tough time in the opening period and admitted that the League One new boys had provided a stern test for his blossoming youngsters.
“It was a big occasion for my players, playing in a great atmosphere and in a great stadium,” said the Reds cult hero ? veteran of that goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final.
“I spoke to Bryan and told him they gave us the run around in the first-half and showed what a good team they are.
“We were lucky to only be 1-0 down at the break. I said to the boys at half-time that I was happy we didn't score the penalty because we didn't deserve to be at 1-1.
“I expected Norwich to be a good team and they were. It's a big club with great traditions and I'm sure they'll bounce straight back into the Championship. I've heard a lot about the club from my former national team coach, Aage Hareide, and it's a club that belongs higher up.”
After the game, Gunn was staying tight-lipped on Goran Maric's contract offer, but he did reveal that the Serbian, who was most recently with Barcelona B in the Spanish Second Division, had given him the nod.
“He has given me an answer. But I'm not in a position to tell you what it is. I hope you can understand that. We'll keep it under wraps for a couple of days.”