Academy'SuperCupNI is the perfect way for us to prepare for 2023-24'

By Steve Hunter


Facebook Twitter Email WhatsApp LinkedIn Telegram

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson is delighted his Liverpool U18s side are returning to Northern Ireland next week for a prestigious four-team tournament at the SuperCupNI.

The young Reds will take on Valencia, Manchester United and Hertha BSC as part of an ‘Elite’ group that has been organised to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the competition, which first started in 1983 as the Milk Cup.

The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Steve McManaman have starred in the past for Liverpool in the tournament, and Bridge-Wilkinson considers it an ideal way for the squad to prepare for the new campaign ahead.

His team’s opening match comes against Valencia at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Monday July 24, with kick-off set for 7.45pm BST.

Two days later the Reds face Man United at the Coleraine Showgrounds, also at 7.45pm, before their final game on Friday July 28 as they meet Hertha at the same venue, at 8pm.

Read on as Bridge-Wilkinson previews an exciting week ahead for his players in Northern Ireland, speaking to…

On competing in the SuperCupNI…

It’s something we’ve been building towards since we returned in pre-season and it’s a historic competition and it’s one that we are really happy to be a part of. It’s going to hopefully be a really enjoyable experience. We’ve got to make sure we represent the club in the right way, which we will, and we will go there and try to win every game like we always do.

On the calibre of opposition the Reds will face…

Three really good games and we are really excited and looking forward to them. Obviously each of them will be slightly different tests but it’s going to be a really nice addition to the pre-season programme. It’s always nice to play against teams of this calibre and it will be a really good test for the players. We are going over to Northern Ireland with a young group of players so it’s not going to be easy, but we are going to go out there and learn a lot and try to do really well in each game.

On the importance of these games for building up to the start of 2023-24…

This is perfect for us and a big part of the pre-season. We know we’ve still got improvements to make in all areas, of course, but fitness is a big part of pre-season, gaining that match sharpness. Playing three games in five days is going to be quite tough and demanding on the players, but hopefully at the end of the week we will come away with improved fitness, improved ideas of what we are trying to do and hopefully the boys will be in a good place.

On a great chance for the first-year scholars to play in front of large crowds in this tournament…

As always we have got new players who have come in as they leave school and enter the world of football. It’s a great opportunity for them to come in and hit the ground running. Some of these boys played many games at U18 level last season so hopefully they will be a little more embedded into what we are doing than some of the groups previously. That’s what we are hoping for and hopefully it’s going to be a nice start to the season.

LFC U18s win back-to-back pre-season friendlies against Salford City

AcademyLFC U18s win back-to-back pre-season friendlies against Salford CityLiverpool U18s began their pre-season schedule with victories in a pair of 45-minute friendlies against Salford City on Saturday afternoon.

On what his main message will be to the players ahead of this tournament…

Ultimately, we’ve got to give it our all. We’ve got to go out there, we’ve got to be open, we’ve got to be brave, we’ve got to play our game and make sure we continue to play the way that we know is going to improve us. It’s not about now, it’s about the future. It’s about building towards the careers individually these boys are hopefully going to have, but also as a group for this season.

We’ve got to make sure that we don’t look back on these games or any of the moments in these games with any regret, so we give it everything that we have got, playing in a brave and aggressive fashion, and hopefully we come out with some really positive performances.

Subscribers will be able to watch highlights of all three of Liverpool U18s' matches at the SuperCupNI on LFCTV GO next week.

You have to accept cookies in order to view this content on our site.

Watch on YouTube



Facebook Twitter Email WhatsApp LinkedIn Telegram