On Sunday we will be taking our U18 and U23 squads to Budapest for our pre-season training camp and everyone is thoroughly looking forward to it. Besides Budapest being a beautiful part of the world the coaches will be working the lads hard in Hungary as they get ready for the start of a new season. This is a slightly shorter pre-season trip for consecutive days away to ones we have taken in the past but we have three games to look forward to and it will be a brilliant experience for the players. This trip gives the coaching staff the chance to not only work individually with the team, it also gives them the opportunity to talk together about players. It allows our academy director Alex Inglethorpe the opportunity to work and coach with both groups and have the U18 and U23 squads together as one group. The players and the staff will take a lot from this trip and it’s so important to take the boys out their comfort zone. You learn more about your players on a trip abroad because they are representing Liverpool FC which is a great honour.
Neil Critchley’s U23s will play two games during our stay in Hungary and Steven Gerrard’s U18s have just the one match. The first game for the U23s is on Tuesday July 18 when we will play MTK Budapest FC at 6pm. This will be played at their Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion which was only opened in October 2016, so we can’t wait to play there. On Saturday July 22, we have two games. The U23s will play Rapid Vienna at 4.30pm, and at 6.30pm the U18s will also play Rapid Vienna U19s. We are facing some high quality opposition and it will provide a stern test for the boys.
Besides our training sessions we will also give the players a cultural experience on one of the days and have a look around Budapest. This will allow the players to learn a bit more about the city and its culture. We will also enjoy some traditional Hungarian food with the players. This is important to do things like this as we are all together as one academy group and it also helps the new players in the squad settle in quickly.
Pre-season is always an extremely busy time for the academy and we have some more tournaments to look forward to after Budapest. On July 26, Alex, Steven and Tom Culshaw will take the U19 squad to a tournament in Switzerland. It will be hosted by FC Aesch which is near Basel. We will be taking 23 players to the tournament and we have two matches to look forward to against Hamburg on Friday July 28, and then Roma on Saturday July 29.
Our U23s will travel to Nuneaton for a tournament over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday July 29/30. We will play Coventry City on Saturday July 29 and then face PSV Eindhoven on Sunday July 30. This is a replica of a tournament we participated several years ago in Corby. Tommy Wright used to be the manager of Corby and he is now in charge of Nuneaton Town. What Tommy manages to do from a semi-pro point of view is massive and he deserves a great deal of credit for organising this tournament. We are delighted to be involved in it and it’s very well attended and hopefully the Liverpool supporters will come out and cheer on our young boys.
Click here for more information about the Nuneaton tournament.
Click here to read our Behind the Badge feature with Roscoe.