Centre-back Zach Birse joined Norwich City's Under-18 development squad in August 2016 from Brentford.
A hip injury picked up during the final stages of his time with Brentford prevented Birse from making an appearance for the Canaries and ultimately left him unable to train. He said "We couldn't initially work out what the injury was. I saw a specialist, who was the best in the country, to find out why I couldn't train or play. Every time I tried to get back out there and train, I felt the problem again and I thought I can't be doing this every single day. Going in, seeing the physio, trying to train, coming back in and seeing the physio again. That's why I had the troubles as I never thought I would get over the injury. I was seeing a psychologist every week away from the club, which the PFA sorted for me, to try and help me get over it. As a new player the best way to get in with the team is by playing with the team. If I am not around them every day it can't happen, so I was basically on my own a lot. It wasn't the players singling me out and not wanting to be near me, it was just they were out training and I was inside."
After leaving Norwich by mutual consent, Birse returned to his hometown of Harlow in Essex unsure of his next move in life. He would eventually end up spending the next eight months on a scaffolding site
A return to football consumed Birse's thoughts during his long days on the site and a surprise email from the PFA backed League Football Education would prove to be his route back into the game, but this time in Sweden with Division Two side IFK Ostersund. Birse joined a growing contingent of British players at Ostersund, with five already at the club,as well as English head coach Ben Smith.