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'You are right to be excited by them, but it's easy to ruin their careers really quickly'

Norwich manager Daniel Farke says hype surrounding Idah and Omobamidele is justified but warns about putting too much pressure on them so young.

Norwich pair Andrew Omobamidele and Adam Idah.
Norwich pair Andrew Omobamidele and Adam Idah.

ASK DANIEL FARKE a question and you will get an answer that often reveals more than you expected.

If the Norwich City manager is in the depths of despair, his side in the doldrums at the bottom of the Premier League and without a win in nine games, he does a great job of hiding it.

He said his players needed to feel the pain for a couple of days following last weekend’s 7-0 humbling away to European champions Chelsea.

That it was good to suffer such anguish and get it out of their system heading into today’s game with Leeds United at Carrow Road.

And when he was asked about the development of 20-year-old striker Adam Idah, he explained plenty behind his thought processes for not letting the
Republic of Ireland international loose in a beleaguered side that has not scored for five games and could do with the fearlessness of youth.

Idah, Farke revealed, was available for the fewest amount of sessions last season because of knee, ankle and hernia injuries, not to mention a positive Covid-19 test.

“He was the outfield player with the lowest availability on the training pitch and it was the reason he was not playing at Championship level,” he told The42.

chelsea-v-norwich-city-premier-league-stamford-bridge Farke watches on during his side's 7-0 trouncing away to Chelsea last weekend. Source: PA

“It’s always up to him to show this, that he is ready on the training pitch, to show that he’s improving on the training pitch. The head coach will never ever leave their best players out.

“It’s always like what you see in the training and the games. We believe in Adam, he is a great player and he will also have more chances to shine. Let’s see how he develops, it’s totally up to him.”

The Norwich boss expanded on concerns surrounding Idah’s consistency, the trust he must have in his body and the need to be at peak physical condition to make the most of his attributes.

Sometimes he came back from the international break with bigger injuries, there was always something that stopped him. He is a pretty physical player and needs his consistency on the training, maybe a bit more than perhaps a tiny midfield player or something like this.

“It’s important that he trusts his body and is in a good rhythm and a good shape. He’s worked unbelievably hard in the last months. But yes, one thing is to be available to train, right now he also has to add a bit more quality in what he shows on the training pitch. He is doing this, I am quite pleased in this way but it’s not like you just press a button and you’re there.

“You have to show this with consistency. I have to give Adam some praise because he is working unbelievably hard. I’m pretty sure if he goes on [like this] he will go in this direction (up) and then he will have a bright future.

“It’s totally up to him, he has to keep going and not just show this for one or two weeks. If he keeps going like the last weeks then I think he will shine.”

Farke expressed his own reservations about throwing the Cork native in now when it could “ruin his career”, and the need for patience in a player who has made six Premier League appearances this season but seen his game time reduce on each occasion.

england-v-republic-of-ireland-international-friendly-wembley-stadium Idah has led the line for Ireland under Stephen Kenny. Source: PA

There was a 13-minute cameo off the bench against Liverpool on the opening day, followed by 11 at home to Leicester City, 10 minutes in the 1-0 defeat away to Arsenal, two minutes versus Watford and two one-minute showings against Burnley and Brighton.

“We are all happy that we have Adam because he is a player full of potential. He is also a great character to have in the dressing room who we must not forget is unbelievably young. He is learning here with us and also at international level, but it is not up to a 20-year-old guy to be leading the line in the Premier League, let’s be honest.

“Last season he wasn’t even playing regularly at Championship level, then we can’t expect that he’s the go to guy at Premier League level. But of course, if he takes the next step in his career and improves, there is no reason why he shouldn’t shine because he is a natural born goal scorer.

“He has his instincts in and around the box and to show this with consistency, each and every training working unbelievably hard, also each and every game, when he gets the chance to impress. If it’s 50 minutes, use your chance, use your chance. If it’s international games for Ireland, use your chance and score.

On this level, you can’t expect, as a young player anyhow, that you get a ticket. We have also a lot of competition in the squad.”

Andrew Omobamidele, Idah’s international teammate, can relate at the other end of the pitch. The 19-year-old centre back emerged in Norwich’s starting XI for the final nine games of their Championship-winning season.

An impressive pre-season followed, so too his senior Ireland debut, but his game-time in the Premier League has been limited to two appearances – a full 90 minutes away to Arsenal in a 1-0 defeat and coming on a sub for the final 20 minutes at Stamford Bridge when they were trailing 5-0 and down to 10 men.

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Their club fortunes contrast sharply to the trust being placed in them by Stephen Kenny with Ireland – Idah started all three World Cup qualifiers in September and the 1-0 win away to Azerbaijan earlier this month, while Omobamidele made his debut off the bench against Portugal and has kept his place ever since.

“You are completely right to be excited about both,” Farke insists. “Adam is a fantastic character and a player full of potential. We are excited about him but also give him some time to develop. Also for the national team it’s important not to overload a 20-year-old player with too much expectation that he scores in each and every game he plays. This is also quite important.

britain-soccer-premier-league Omobamidele made his second Premier League appearance off the bench against Chelsea. Source: Ian Walton

“With Andrew, how much I love him and I am excited by him showed at the crunch time period last season. I had other options but trusted him, 18-year-old at that time to be in the central position, the key position in the defence. He fulfilled all my wishes.

“For example, in the away game against Arsenal, he was brilliant. Again, you can’t expect that he leads right now, he’s a 19-year-old guy in a newly promoted side. I’m absolutely happy with how he develops. It’s a joy to work with him on the training pitch and I think he has a bright future ahead of him.

Always it’s important with the right timing, otherwise you can ruin their career really quickly. We have to look after them. I was never doubtful to put a young player in the spotlight once I think they are prepared.

“With Andrew at Championship level I got the feeling, although we didn’t have proof, that he was coming close to play regularly at this level. To find the right moment to bring him in otherwise it could damage the career.

“We are always happy to develop young players and we look after them and to find a good balance.”

– First published 23.00, 31 October

BTL 5

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