In the spirit of looking forward (although I can’t promise we’ve yet concluded our look back at why it all went so wrong), on MFW today, we’ll be looking at the Club’s Under23s and the impressive season they have just had.
First up is a piece from Louis Woodrow, and this afternoon it will be Will Grant – both of them taking a look at our potential stars of the future…
City’s Under-23s finished sixth in the Premier League 2 Division 2 this season and were rewarded with an opportunity to be promoted to the first division through playoffs, but crucially fell short against Wolves in the semi-finals last week.
City lost in the toughest way possible as they were defeated 5-4 on penalties to confirm they will remain in the division, but it’s a squad with some potential first-team talent throughout, some of whom will be looking to break through to the first-team in the Championship next season.
Making the bench in the Canaries’ most recent Premier League fixture at Wolves, Jonathan Tomkinson has been a fairly consistent starter at centre-back for the Under-23s this season and even captained the side earlier on in the campaign.
He may well be in the distant thoughts of Dean Smith for next season, although he already has four options in central defence – one being Andrew Omabamidele who only recently came through the youth system himself.
Nineteen-year-old midfielder Liam Gibbs has also played a key part in this season, making an appearance in 22 of 26 games for Alan Neilson’s side.
Gibbs joined the club Ipswich town in July of last year and will no doubt have one eye on the first team, with the departures of Lukas Rupp, Billy Gilmour and Mathias Normann leaving little to no squad depth in that area of the pitch.
Just Kenny McLean and Pierre Lees Melou remain in that out-and-out midfield role now in Smith’s squad, with the versatile Jacob Lungi Sorensen potentially filling in there.
This may leave room for new signings, or perhaps for an opportunity for someone like Gibbs.
Also starting in midfield in the Under-23s play-off semi-final was Daniel Adshead, who has spent the majority of the season injured on loan at Gillingham, so at the moment he may be slightly further from the first-team reckoning.
Two players City fans will be expecting to be a part of next season’s Championship squad will be wingers Jonathan Rowe and Tony Springett.
Rowe has made no less than 13 appearances off the bench for City this season and has often injected pace and creativity into the side late on. Although this has usually been meaningless as the side were often well behind by the time he made an appearance, Rowe will certainly be looking to make an impression and earn his first start for the Canaries.
He signed a deal in January of this year to keep him at the club until 2025 so he will more than likely be in the long-term thoughts of Dean Smith.
Springett has made a similar progression to the first team in recent weeks. He made his debut for City in the 4-0 home defeat to West Ham United, where he came on for Milot Rashica at halftime. He was also impressive away at Leicester’s King Power one week later.
Both Rowe and Springett scored penalties in the Wolves’ shootout and have staked their claims impressively in the later stages of this Premier League campaign. They will be looking to impress in pre-season in order to stay in the first-team picture.
Tyrese Omotoye scored the goal to level in the semi-final of the playoffs and has previously impressed for the Under-18s. He has spent this season on loan in League Two, beginning the campaign at Leyton Orient but started just four games at the London club, and so made the move to Carlisle where he also struggled for goals.
Omotoye has made senior appearances for Norwich City towards the back end of the 2020-21 Championship title-winning season but, should he remain at the club, may struggle to find his way into the squad with competition from Adam Idah, Josh Sargent and Teemu Pukki.
Smith will almost certainly be looking to the transfer market to improve his squad this summer, but a number of Under-23s will certainly be knocking on the door of first-team football, having already shown off their capabilities.