Liverpool's Academy youngsters are currently enjoying an extensive pre-season programme in Holland with matches against top-class opposition and taking part in various cultural and community visits.

The U17, U19 and U21 squads left Kirkby on Saturday, July 19, and are set to return on Friday, August 1.

Spending the best part of two weeks in the country, the Academy are based near the town of Nijmegen, where the players are training every day.

The Academy gained three impressive victories over Club Brugges at the weekend and are now looking forward to matches against German side Schalke later this week. Click here to read the report from the Brugges game.

The young players have also been taking part in a number of cultural and community activities within the local area, starting off with a visit to the Overloon War Museum, where the players laid wreaths in honour of three soldiers that came from Merseyside: Lance Bombardier Henry James Loftus, Private Philip John Christian and Private Sydney John Gilbert Williamson.


The squad also paid a special visit to Radboud Hospital - one of the largest and leading hospitals in the Netherlands - who posed for photos with the kids and handed out signed photographs.

During the tour, the Academy also teamed up with the Johan Cruyff Foundation, a charity setup by the footballing legend to give more opportunities to kids across the world to play and be active in sport.

Four of the club's rising stars visited a local Cruyff court in Nijmegen and got involved with a number of the local kids playing mini football tournaments, including managing a mini team each.

The Kirkby-based players will also this week meet with the local side's Academy squad at Nijmegen FC, where they will be given a tour of the stadium, have a chance to watch training and take part in a question and answer session with players of a similar age, to help develop understanding of each other's experiences.

Phil Roscoe, assistant Academy manager and head of education and welfare said: "The Academy's philosophy is centred on developing outstanding young players on the pitch as well as good human beings.

"Our tour of Holland is a great extension of this - whilst having the chance to play against some fantastic teams from Europe, we've also been able to take the players into the community to get a sense of the local culture as well as to give back to the local people."

The Academy squad regularly take part in local community work within the Merseyside area on a monthly basis, including visits to the young patients at Alder Hey Hospital and Clare House Hospice, as well as serving food at the local homeless shelter, all of which help to instil a sense of responsibility.

The Academy have been able to part-fund the two-week Holland tour via the European Commission's Leonardo Mobility Programme, the aim of the project being to facilitate the transfer of football training methods, techniques and philosophies between the LFC Academy and host partner club FC Twente.

Navitas Sports, a UK-based sports consultancy, helped the Reds secure the European funding and have been integral to the success of the trip.

As part of the tour, which was organised by Training Trips, the LFC Academy has worked with FC Twente to deliver training sessions for the young Kirkby-based players, as well as the two sides sharing best practice in coaching.