Cambridge United sign exciting prospect

Conference side sign Will Norris from Royston Town on two-year deal

ROYSTON TOWN’S teenage goalkeeper Will Norris has signed a two-year deal with Conference side Cambridge United.

The 18-year-old, who made more than 40 appearances during his debut season at Garden Walk last term, will be loaned back to Paul Attfield’s side for a season as part of the agreement, and will feature during the Crows’ maiden campaign in the Evo-Stik Southern League after helping them to promotion from the Spartan South Midlands League.

Speaking to the Crow about the move, manager Attfield believes the deal suits all parties, and will benefit Norris’ development as he bids to make the step up. “It’s great for everyone concerned,” said Attfield. “Jez George [Cambridge United manager] has done an excellent job since he’s been in charge there, and they are one of the more forward-moving clubs in non-league, so for our players to be looked at by much bigger clubs shows the sort of quality we’ve got.

“Will will get full-time training at Cambridge, and we’ve got him on a season-long loan so that will be great news for us. I’ve known Jez for a few years and we both agreed it would be best for Will’s development if he spent another season with us as it’s probably a bit too soon to be expecting him to go straight into their first team. But you’ve got to remember he’s still only 18, and he will have another great season with us. He’s got all the attributes and the attitude to go on and be a great ‘keeper.

“He came into our team at a difficult stage last season but kept six clean sheets on the bounce. I was bowled over with his ability and level-headedness and for one so young that was very impressive.”

The former Bushey stopper, who trained with Leicester City, Stevenage and Peterborough last season, is understandably thrilled to have signed a contract at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.

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“I’m delighted for the opportunity to sign for Cambridge United,” Norris told Royston Town’s official website. “I’ve been really impressed with the training and the attitude of the club. Jez has been tremendously welcoming and has really made me feel a part of everything.

“I want to thank Royston for a great season last year. I really enjoyed my time there and am thankful for all the support they’ve given me, especially Paul Attfield and the chairman Steve Jackson.

“I think it’s a good arrangement that I continue playing for them under the loan agreement next season – they have gone up a level and Jez and I agree it’s important that I continue to gain playing experience as well as training full-time with Lance Key [CUFC goalkeeping coach].

“I feel this is a positive career move for me as the facilities and environments are perfect for a player of my age and aspirations to develop further.”

Cambridge manager George insists Norris has excellent potential, and is looking forward to watching him progress over the coming 12 months. “We are really pleased to have signed Will. We’ve been impressed with his attitude, character and maturity as well as his ability,” he said. “He’s definitely one for the future rather than now but we feel he will develop really well in our environment.

“I know Paul [Attfield] is a great advocate of youth football so great credit must go to Royston Town and it’s fantastic that we are able to sign a talented young player from a local club. It shows we are watching games and looking for players at all levels.”