Academy prospect Jonathan Rowe has signed a new contract after breaking into first-team contention at Norwich City, extending terms until 2025.
The skilful 18-year-old forward has been starring for City’s under-23s, with 12 goals and eight assists from 18 appearances as part of a high-scoring development squad.
That saw Rowe come into the first team when resources were depleted due to injury and illness last month, being named on the bench for a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa.
His debut a fortnight later when he came on with 22 minutes remaining of a 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace in the Premier League, setting up a chance to pull back a consolation that Pierre Lees-Melou could only steer wide.
“I’m very happy,” said Rowe. “All the hard work and countless hours of training and matches have led up to this point. This is just the beginning, so I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Rowe was due to be involved in Sunday’s game at Charlton in the FA Cup but had to go into self-isolation due to Covid-19 regulations. It’s understood that has ended though and that he will be available at West Ham on Wednesday night.
“This season has been one of the greatest seasons for the under-23s,” Rowe continued, speaking to City’s website. “I’ve got to give credit where it’s due, Tom Dickson-Peters and Abu Kamara are amazing team-mates. The assists and goals have been rolling in.
“Recently, the new manager has come in and I’ve been on form, scoring goals, getting assists and playing well. It was a real honour to get that call-up and that first-team involvement. I couldn’t stop smiling!
“It was a surreal moment when I came on against Crystal Palace and I thought I was dreaming. Stuff like that, you can’t really put into words.
“The motivation I’ve got from that is unreal. It’s made me that one step hungrier to achieve my goals. When I came on, all I wanted to do was make an impact, and I think I made a positive impact to the fans and the players around me.
“If I can do more of that and contribute to more goals and assists, we’ll see what happens.”
Speaking after his debut at Palace, City boss Dean Smith said: “He has got a bit about him. He has done well at 23s level and has been in and around the first team group of late training and also done really well.
“We have been pleased with his development. But I am not sure he is Premier League ready at the minute for a relegation battle.
“His debut was probably the most pleasing thing about the game, and getting some minutes. Would I have wanted to put him on at 3-0 down, away to Crystal Palace, for his Premier League debut? No, is the answer. But I feel this lad is going to have a really good future at this football club.”
The youngster signed his first professional deal with City last January, having joined Norwich as an under-11s player from London junior club AFC Wembley.
Rowe’s deal follows new contracts for academy team-mates last month, including American defender Jonathan Tomkinson, committing until 2024.
U23s defenders Lewis Shipley (2023) and Jaden Warner (2025) also signed new deals, with winger Tony Springett (2025) also getting a long-term contract.
Young forward Abu Kamara also committed until 2025 when he signed a new deal in October.