1. ITV Report

'Hard work' the key for Norwich City youth, says Johnson

Reece Hall-Johnson, who scored Norwich's first leg winner against Nottingham Forest in the FA Youth Cup semi-finals Photo: ITV Sport

Hard work - that's the attribute Norwich City's potential stars of the future have to concentrate most on, according to first team midfielder Bradley Johnson.

The former Arsenal youngster was reacting to City's Academy team's first leg win in the FA Youth Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. Reece Hall-Johnson scored the only goal in the 88th minute.

"I'm not going to sit here and say I'm the best player. But one thing I do have in my locker is I've got a good work ethic, and I work hard," said Johnson.

"If a manager tells me to go out there on a Saturday and run the most out of everyone, then I'll do that because that's what I want to do.

"I've worked hard to get where I am now and to stay here you've got to work even harder. We've got a talented group here, and all they have to do is work hard and believe in themselves."

Club manager Chris Hughton was at the City Ground to watch the first leg. He's delighted with the team's progress but is well aware that not everyone from the academy squad will go all the way to becoming a top professional.

"The timing probably couldn't have been any better," said Hughton. "We've achieved Catergory 1 Academy status. Its an area we really want to develop at this football club, and at this moment to have reached the semi-final, with the possibility hopefully of getting to the final has fallen very nicely for the club.

"First it's the progression from the Academy group to the development group, and then for us to see enough from that development group to be on the fringes and of course getting to the first team.

"That's the goal of every player that we take on. Can they play in our first team. We know that ultimately the large majority won't.

"Its about getting numbers through but also about getting that star quaility. It's a very difficult task these days to be a Premier League footballer. It takes a lot of ambition, it certainly takes a lot of determination and work on the training pitch, and a lot of ability to the fringes."

Meanwhile Johnson is pleased and proud that the first team squad has a strong connection with their younger counterparts.

"If you see us in and around the training field they're always with us," said Johnson. "We've got a strong bond with them. We have a laugh with them.

"I was at the last game at Carrow Road and supported them, and they're a good team with some exciting players coming up.

"They proved that going to Nottingham Forest, getting a one-nil win to bring back to Norwich. All of the lads will be coming to watch and to get behind them."

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