As we enter another new month in the 2023-24 season, it’s time to reflect on the month of October and its standout performers.
The Under-21s had a quiet month, playing just two games and winning them both, whereas the Under-18s played three times – losing two and drawing one.
Despite the sample size of games being small, there were loads of positive performances across the month that deserve a mention.
So… my team of the month:
The @norwichyouth October 2023 Team of the Month
Caleb Ansen – GK
Caleb makes the team for the second consecutive month, demonstrating the consistency he has shown this season. The pleasing element for him is that he is showing that consistency at U21s level now after progressing from the U18s.
Ansen played against Charlton in the EPL Cup and contributed with a clean sheet, which was jointly shared with Ellis Craven who came on as a 75th-minute substitute.
Across the month, Ansen has showcased his reliability in goal, making good saves in critical moments – a good example being a wonderful save, diving to his right, to force out a tricky effort in the Charlton game.
He also played for the U18s once this month, against Aston Villa in the U18 PL Cup, and impressed particularly from a distribution perspective. His distribution across the last twelve months has improved the more he’s played, which is promising from a developmental aspect.
Alfie Pinyoun – RB
Since the start of the 2022-23 season, Alfie has been a professional figure, playing in a secondary position throughout his whole U18s career. He gets into the team of the month for the second time this season due to three good performances, as well as getting on the scoresheet.
He scored a lovely goal away at Blackburn Rovers a couple of weeks ago, tucking a shot into the bottom right corner with his weaker foot. This goal epitomised Alfie’s technical quality in attacking areas, which sometimes gets forgotten due to the U18s generally having a lack of possession.
Moreover, another pleasing element of his play over the last month was his intent to get into attacking positions. With Norwich placing a big emphasis on transition as their method of attack, Pinyoun showed many examples of executing this, bursting forward to get numbers in the attacking third. He also has terrific stamina, allowing him to affect both penalty boxes.
Charlie Wilson – CB
It’s no secret that I’ve been a real admirer of Charlie since he stepped through the Colney gates in April, and it feels like the Norwich Academy staff share that sentiment.
One game in particular that demonstrated his consistent impact was West Brom at Carrow Road where he was arguably the best player on the pitch, winning 80% of his aerial duels as well as having the highest ratio in the team at regaining possession. His ability to defend with his feet instead of going to ground is brilliant, as it demonstrates maturity.
Wilson gets into the team of the month for the second consecutive time, which demonstrates the positive form he’s experiencing currently. Unfortunately for him, it feels like he’s having to be the most patient central defender in the club as over the last two games he’s started on the bench due to the U21s changing shape, as well as catering for Grant Hanley’s return to fitness.
Emmanuel Adegboyega – CB
This is the third consecutive month that Emmanuel has made a team of the month, which underlined his influential role in this team. He was part of a defence that oversaw two wins in two games while only conceding a goal.
It’s no secret now for the regular MFW readers of my articles, that Adegboyega has immense athletic and defensive abilities but another aspect of his game that has been apparent during October is his skill in ball-carrying. His knack of driving up the pitch was on display against West Brom and it was very effective, leading to one of City’s goals. He backed up his attacking input with a solid defensive play too, winning 75% of his aerial duels.
His performances across the season have been enjoyable to watch and if his form continues, first-team football could be a possibility in the near future.
Waylon Renecke – LB
Similarly to Adegboyega, Renecke gets into our team of the month for the third time running, highlighting again his smooth transition from U18s football to U21s football.
‘Smooth transition’ is particulalrly apt for Renecke in October as he played as a centre-back for the U18s as well as playing as a left-back for the U21s. He was one of the better performers in the U18s defeat against Aston Villa due to executing many successful recovery runs, which resulted in him dealing with loose balls efficiently.
For the U21s, he displayed an assuredness on the left side of defence, winning all of his aerial duels while also providing good attacking crosses from the flanks.
By playing two different positions for two different age groups, this will enhance his football education as he is learning the intricacies that each position requires.
Miles Bracking – CM
Miles makes team-of-the-month for the second consecutive month, highlighting his sensational start to the season. This box-to-box midfielder excites me every time he plays, as he has a variety of traits that benefit both the defensive and attacking units.
One of his standout games in October was the friendly against Blackburn where he made a goal-saving block, as well as contributing to the goal the team scored by making a creative run and pass for his attacking teammates to convert. In that game, Bracking completed a pass accuracy of 96% with more than half of those being forward passes, demonstrating his technical skill.
There was also a phase in the Aston Villa U18 PL Cup game in which Bracking was the best player on the pitch, pulling the strings in midfield by winning tackles and using the ball positively, and by linking with his attacking teammates. His performances this season are exciting.
Finley Welch – CM
Finley is another player to make the team of the month for the third time in a row, underlining his impact on the U21s team. Across the month, he was utilised in a range of positions, meaning he had to find alternative ways to make an impact on matches.
Like the majority of the U21s squad, Welch only played two competitive matches for the development sides during October but his performance levels were fantastic.
During the West Brom match, he played as a full-back, central midfielder, and a centre-forward, highlighting his versatility. The pleasing aspect of his performance in this game was the volume of chances he created, especially for Ken Aboh. Unfortunately, he failed to pick up an assist during the game.
However, his fortunes changed at Charlton away when he got the assist he was craving, finding Aboh for a tap-in. Also, the phase of play before that illustrated the quality Welch offers with his imaginative dribbling ability. Welch’s futsal background makes him a challenging attacker to defend against as he’s brilliantly unorthodox.
Pedro Lima – CM
After taking some time to settle in with some substitute appearances in September, October was the month in which we started to see some of Lima’s qualities.
He scored his first goal for the U21s against Charlton, which was a pleasing moment as his general play warranted one. One of the best features of his short tenure at Norwich is the intensity he brings to the midfield. With Norwich having steady and disciplined midfielders in Harry Brooke and Adian Manning, he complements them nicely as he adds a robust ball-carrying dynamic.
His ambition to create and score goals is impressive too as it shows his desire to make a name for himself in NR1. You get the feeling Pedro thinks the main way to force himself into the first team is through goal contributions and he’s executing that by scoring two on the bounce.
Adian Manning – CAM
Adian has won Player of the Month twice already this season, meaning the fans are noticing his consistent performances. He scored three goals during October, making him the joint-top academy scorer in the month.
He has immense technical quality and a wonderful left foot that has been the source of his goals across the month. More precisely, a huge proportion of Manning’s goals during October were from outside the box, highlighting his effectiveness from range, which could be beneficial going forward.
It is worth noting that Manning makes a conscious effort to get close to his attacking teammates, allowing the front three to connect with him when he gets in those advanced positions.
Adian Manning is the second top goal scorer this season. Credit: norwichcityfc
Elliot Myles – ST
On the theme of goalscoring, Elliot has scored three goals for the U18s this month, showcasing his ability in front of goal.
His goals have been presented to him nicely but they still rely on Elliot getting himself into those attacking positions. A common trend is for Myles to find himself in position for his teammates to cut the ball back to him across the face of the goal, allowing him to tuck the ball home.
Moreover, he has been integral in making Norwich dangerous on the counterattack, driving the team forward at every opportunity he gets. This is helped by his exceptional dribbling and ball control skills, which help Norwich to be a threat in transition.
Errol Mundle-Smith – ST
This is the second month he has been nominated for the team of the month, and his performances across October have warranted it. As well as Mundle-Smith’s general play being convincing, he also contributed with two assists this month.
The two assists against Blackburn were of high quality, directing the ball to his teammates at a quick pace for them to connect to.
These assists have confirmed that Errol does have quality in the final third, as well as the ability to hold the ball up in attacking areas – a pivotal trait for a striker who’s likely to be isolated in an unstable attacking environment. He has demonstrated his pace to run the flanks too, which is essential for how City play on the counter.
In terms of looking forward, the Under-18s travel to Jack Wilshere’s Arsenal on Saturday, while the Under-21s are playing against Bournemouth at home in the EPL Cup. If the Canaries win that game they will likely qualify for the next round.