Adam Idah managing the transition from goal machine to trivia king

For all the competitive streak Adam Idah is displaying in Zoom quizzes with his family, he’d prefer to be back battling on the pitch for Ireland and Norwich City.
Adam Idah managing the transition from goal machine to trivia king

For all the competitive streak Adam Idah is displaying in Zoom quizzes with his family, he’d prefer to be back battling on the pitch for Ireland and Norwich City.

The Cork native’s burgeoning career has been sprinkled with success, complementing his string of international feats for Ireland with a Premier League debut by 18.

Throw into the mix some underage titles in athletics and hurling before he concentrated on one code and the winning habit has become Idah’s constant friend.

That even extends to the weekly summits with his family back home in Cork during the downtime created by the coronavirus disruption.

Popping up on the screen at his Norwich home are his mother Fiona, grandmother Kathleen, brother Brandon and a clutch of cousins challenging their famous relative.

The 19-year-old has managed the transition from goal machine to trivia king, claiming the bragging rights again on international duty.

“There’s a big group of us competing every week but we’ve won most of them,” he says with a laugh, sharing the credit with his girlfriend.

Had the pandemic struck this time last year when he an Academy fledgling, Idah would have been allowed home but first-team commitments required him to stay put. It’s a sacrifice he’ll cope with.

His daily ritual since Norwich’s training ground became a no-go zone in March is a trip to his local park for fitness workouts.

Exercise bikes have been installed in players’ houses to facilitate a weekly spinning session, virtually of course, hosted by Head of Performance Chris Domogalla.

“It’s all a bit boring at this stage,” Idah admits. “I’ve managed to maintain my fitness but I miss the ball work.

“The waiting is the worst part. There’s been talk of getting back training and restarting fixtures but the club haven’t confirmed anything to us. I just want to get involved in matches to kick on from where I left off.”

His frustration is understandable. Canaries boss Daniel Farke had called upon the Corinthians Boys graduate for their last two matches before the schedule was halted.

Idah converted in an FA Cup penalty shoot-out win at Tottenham Hotspur before making his sixth appearance of the season at Sheffield United a few days later.

“I was just getting into the flow of things,” he confesses. “The first-team is a major step-up but I was adjusting to the pace and really enjoying the experience.

“Maybe in another way, this break could help me. I’m really not sure but I’ll be ready whenever the go-ahead is given.”

That milestone will likely be decided by the UK government but Idah also his Ireland career in mind. The major news during this lull was the premature promotion to the senior post of Stephen Kenny, a manager the Leesider has reason to be fond of.

The admiration is mutual, as evidenced by the fact Idah completed 2019 as top scorer in Kenny’s U21s with five goals. He also holds the distinction of being the only player to figure in all 12 matches over a stellar year.

Idah had been preparing to play the final pair of Euro qualifiers under the management of Kenny in late March until the pandemic triggered a cancellation of sport across the continent.

The forward is modest enough to work on the basis that he’ll complete the remainder of the matches under Kenny’s successor, Jim Crawford, yet can be forgiven for envisaging a reunion with his ex-U21 boss in the Autumn.

“Players will love working with Stephen and his assistant Keith Andrews because I learnt so much from them last year,” noted Idah.

“Stephen makes you feel like a top, top player. He’s a great manager and everyone respects him. Once he starts talking in the dressing-room, everyone listens.

“When we were losing at half-time in our last qualifier against Sweden, Stephen only said a few words in the dressing-room. He told us to concentrate on our own game and we ended up winning 4-1.

“It would be brilliant to work with Stephen and Keith again. The U21s is a stepping-stone to the seniors and that’s the ambition. We’re top of our U21 group and I know Jim well from first working with him first as U18 manager so we’re very determined to qualify for that tournament too.”

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