For those who have an interest in Strictly Come Dancing, I incorporated a Strictly-themed title for the first, and the last time on MFW. Anyways, back to football…
Unfortunately, it was another defeat for the Under-18s on Saturday, with Chelsea overcoming the challenge in Norfolk and winning 6-3. That result leaves Greg Crane’s men bottom of the table and yet to pick up a point in the U18PL table.
However, the U18s did at least manage to maintain their run of scoring in every game they’ve played so far this season, showing the attacking capabilities of the squad.
From an attacking perspective, they scored two brilliant goals, as well as a penalty from U18s talisman Elliot Myles.
Speaking of Myles, the U18s forward contributed with a mesmerising performance, scoring twice, assisting once, and winning a penalty, which he later converted.
Myles is hugely integral to the U18s attack, taking responsibility to create and score goals. Last weekend, he demonstrated a tendency of his, which is to play directly and quickly when he receives the ball in the middle third. This could either be via a long through ball to the strikers or a penetrating run through the opposition midfield. His success rate at executing this is unbelievable, as he wins multiple fouls.
All the technical quality and direct running stem from Myles’ positive mindset. He is naturally a confident player, which enables him to attempt these audacious passes and dribbles. His mentality is matched, with his wonderful vision for picking out his teammates.
Elliot Myles dribbles past Ipswich. Credit: @norwichcityfc
Focusing in on the goals he’s scored, Myles tucked away his penalty in a composed manner but the more eye-catching goal was his second, thanks to some fine ball control from a fast-paced cross from LaSean Sealey. After the great touch, Myles tucked his strike into the bottom left corner, to cap off a high-quality goal.
Worth noting too is that the ball in from Sealey was high-quality, demonstrating his promise in the cameos he has played. The young striker has accumulated two assists for the U18s this season.
Another player on the scoresheet was first-year scholar Damari Daley, who scored his maiden goal for the U18s. The energetic striker executed a fine weak-foot finish on the left-hand side of the box. Daley earned his goal due to his constant endeavour across the match, as well as linking up efficiently with Sealey and Myles.
Although it was unacceptable for the team to concede six at the weekend, there was a defender in particular who impressed, and that player was industrious U18s left-back, Jaiden Owen.
As always with Owen, he showed huge enthusiasm to get forward and link up with his fellow attacking teammates, however, his defensive performance was also highly encouraging.
Owen faced a difficult Chelsea winger, Frankie Runham, who is tremendously gifted. Runham tested Jaden’s speed, concentration and decision-making but the young full-back stayed resilient and contained the dynamic attacker well across the match.
This game epitomised Owen’s growing maturity in defending one-on-one over the recent weeks. During last season, there were occasions when he got exploited on the left flank, so some solidity was required going into 2023-24. He is steadily maturing as a defender, which is hugely encouraging as he has promising characteristics for a full-back.
Unfortunately, I can’t talk about positive performances without mentioning the errors of the side on Saturday. There were some recurring issues of Norwich giving the ball away in dangerous areas, which is inexcusable against a side like Chelsea.
To counteract that, it’s positive to see the U18s being brave in possession around their own box, something which seems more pivotal as the football landscape evolves.
Unfortunately, the U21s also fell to a defeat on Friday night, ending their four-game unbeaten run, against Everton.
Norwich dominated passages of the game, but ultimately fell short of delivering a ninety-minute display, due to Everton’s quality.
The goalscorer for Norwich was new signing Daniel Ogwuru, who recently joined from Man City. Ogwuru demonstrated great sharpness to react to the ball first, before thumping home. He had a much brighter game compared to the recent Wolves encounter as he had greater success at occupying defenders.
Also, Ken Aboh delivered a promising performance despite not getting on the scoresheet. The powerful striker was effective at progressing the ball from the middle third to the attacking third, making the U21s a real threat in transition.
With a little more composure, Aboh could have easily been on the scoresheet but nonetheless, he has had an excellent month, scoring a goal a game, which is always a healthy ratio for a striker.
One player who was playing in an unnatural position was Finley Welch, who played right back on the night. His inexperience in that position showed when he slide-tackled an Everton player in the penalty box and conceded a penalty that the Toffees inevitably scored.
Finley Welch dictating proceedings in pre-season. Credit: @norwichcityfc
Despite Welch being troubled defensively on occasions, it was a different story from an attacking perspective and due to his tremendous dribbling skill, his ability to drive past players was helped by playing out wide. Also, he was effective at winning free kicks too, allowing the set-piece takers to trouble the Everton defence from wide positions.
From a defensive perspective, Charlie Wilson was solid against his old club. He also showed adaptability, as the management team opted to play him at left-back.
Wilson has been a consistent player since joining the academy in April 2023, and last Friday was another example. One area of strength, in particular, was aerially with Wilson winning many important headers from opposition crosses.
Waylon Renecke continued his fine form, with a wonderful second-half performance in Merseyside, intervening with a major goal-saving interception, which highlighted his intelligence for a 17-year-old defender. He was also content to play ambitiously through the lines with relative success.
One player the fans are eager to watch at the minute is Brazilian midfielder, Pedro Lima. Similarly to the Leicester game in week 4, Lima showed his attributes in different spells of the game. The pleasing element for Norwich is that against Everton Pedro sustained his influence on the game for a longer period.
Lima was exemplary at carrying the ball into the attacking third from deep areas of the pitch as well as collecting the ball in tight areas. The key element which makes those traits so eye-catching is the speed at which he is able to do it. The Brazilian also demonstrated his passing variations, displaying his effectiveness playing long and short on numerous occasions.
If Norwich had eliminated the mistakes in Merseyside, they would have had a much better chance of collecting some points.
I would like to end this piece with two final thoughts, one of which is to express my happiness for 20-year-old defender Jaden Warner who made his debut for the first team last night.
It was important that Warner had a positive night as he’s a central defender, something in short supply at Norwich at the moment. He’s an athletic centre-back who is able to play on both sides of the central defence and is willing to play out from the back.
Finally, the U21s play West Brom, at Carrow Road this Sunday at 1pm. It would be absolutely brilliant for as many people to come along as possible as the 21s are playing some lovely attacking football at the moment and will gain from the feeling of playing in front of supporters.
Tickets are free and available on the club website.