GREAT Barton Primary School student Callum Barrett has been given the opportunity to join Norwich City Under-9s after signing a one-year deal with the Premier League Canaries’ academy.
The youngster, who has been playing for Walsham-le-Willows’ youth teams for the past two years and picked up the manager’s player of the year award this season, spotted trials taking place for City at their newly-established centre at Culford School and went along to showcase his talent.
A successful trial led to Barrett joining Norwich’s dedicated training programme at Culford, set up for eight to 12-year-olds, and after a successful spell with them, he has now been given the chance to sign a one-year contract with their full academy side.
Barrett’s father, David, spoke of the family’s pride of the news and believes the opportunity gifted to his son is fully merited for his hard work and dedication to a sport he loves.
“We are all incredibly proud of Callum because we know how hard he has worked up to now,” he said.
“He is incredibly passionate and whenever he gets the chance to, he will kick a ball around.
“He has put the hours in and at the moment I can’t see him doing anything else because football is all he wants to do.
“However, he is very grounded and is fully aware that there is a lot of competition in football, but we will do all we can to help him go as far as he can.”
Norwich City youth officer Ricky Cornish, who selected Barrett for the training programme after the Culford School trials and played a role in sending him to Norwich’s full academy, spoke of the diminutive midfielder’s attributes that are breaking the mould of youth recruitment.
“We wouldn’t normally sign a lad as small in stature as Callum but it is great to see players like him bucking the trend,” he said.
“It used to be about big physical players but now the emphasis is on technique and technically he is excellent, his ability is clearly evident.
“He uses both feet and is comfortable with either, which is great because we are looking for footballers.
“We are looking for quality which we can hopefully enhance and pass through to our full academy.
“That is why we sent him up to our full academy at Norwich to look at him and they have offered him a contract.
“It is great news for us because the whole point of setting up an academy in Bury St Edmunds was to find youngsters to send to the full academy and we are doing that.”