Norwich snap up Essex non-league star
FORMER Witham Town and Maldon Town striker Cody McDonald has sealed a dream move from the non-league game to Championship side Norwich City.The 22-year-old - who was still playing at the Valley Swifts in the Braintree & District North East Essex League earlier this season - signed a one-and-a-half year deal with the Canaries on Monday's transfer deadline day.
FORMER Witham Town and Maldon Town striker Cody McDonald has sealed a dream move from the non-league game to Championship side Norwich City.
The 22-year-old - who was still playing at the Valley Swifts in the Braintree & District North East Essex League earlier this season - signed a one-and-a-half year deal with the Canaries on Monday's transfer deadline day.
McDonald steps up six divisions having previously been at Ryman League Premier Division side Dartford, where he has recently scored 19 goals in 20 appearances. The fee is undisclosed but thought to be worth around �35,000.
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Norwich had taken the Essex striker on a two-day trial last week, while manager Bryan Gunn had watched him play in Dartford's 1-0 home win against Maidstone United on Saturday.
“I've achieved my ambition to become a professional and I'm glad that all the terms got sorted,” said McDonald. “It is the biggest achievement any young person can achieve. The chance to work with the likes of Bryan (Gunn) is brilliant and hopefully I can bring my goals to the team and do well for Norwich City.”
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Norwich manager Bryan Gunn said: “He's got an eye for goal and pace, which in modern football is crucial. Behind the scenes we can work on his fitness levels as he'll be coming out of part-time football to train everyday, but we can work on that.
“He has the raw ingredients of a top striker. I think that was evident with the number of scouts that were at the game last weekend. We agreed terms with Dartford after the game and then with Cody later.”
Several Championship and Football League clubs have regularly watched the youngster, including Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace and Reading, but it was newly appointed Norwich manager Gunn who has taken the gamble on McDonald, who has been allocated squad number 27.
McDonald first earned himself a reputation as a prolific goalscorer at his home town club Witham before following his manager Russell Tanner over to fellow Ryman League Division One North side Maldon Town last July. Dartford then offered the marksman the chance to step up a level last October.
During his career McDonald has still continued to play on the odd occasion in his local Sunday competition - the Braintree & District North East Essex League - with reports showing he scored four goals in the first half alone for Valley Swifts as recently as last October.