On Tuesday 7th February, our Under-16's squad were invited to compete in a tournament at St. George's Park co-ordinated by the FA as part of the Advanced Youth Award course.
The tournament saw ourselves pitted against West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City & Luton Town and provides another competitive opportunity for our players.
The format of the day was to play a round robin group stages of three games, with the group stages determining the draw for the knock out stages. The format of the day meant that in one of one of the group games, clubs were conditioned to play with 10 men for that particular game.
Added to that challenge, the boys were placed on two completely different sized pitches to see how the players could adapt to different scenarios they were placed in.
“The squad we selected to go was a mixture of eight Under 16's, who we have offered scholarships for next season, and six Under 15's who we believe to have merited being involved in this fantastic opportunity.” Said Tom Parrinello, Lead Youth Development Phase Coach.
“In the round robin stage, the players were excellent. They adapted and adjusted extremely well to the pitch sizes and the "10 men" scenario, and deservedly went through to the semi-finals in 2nd place unbeaten behind West Bromwich Albion.”
“In the semi-final, we were drawn against an established Category 2 side in Coventry City. The players put in an excellent performance and perhaps should have won more comfortably than the scoreline suggested. Goals from Harry Warwick, Lucas Tomlinson & Jack Sell saw us progress into the final where our opponents were West Brom.
“In the final, the boys were absolutely fantastic both in and out of possession and played some very good football consisting of exciting counter-attacking play, and some good build up of play through the thirds.
"We deservedly won 2-1 against strong Category 1 opposition, who had some terrific individuals! Goals from Lucas Tomlinson after good work from Harry Warwick, and a fine solo effort from Under 15 player Kieran Phillips saw the team take another trophy after last month's cup final victory at Exeter City.”
Academy Manager Jonathan Henderson commented “We were honoured to be invited by the FA to take part in this event and that alone a great recognition of the good work that is going on in the programme.
and ability”effort"To then go and compete against established Academies such as Coventry and West Brom is a fantastic advert to the work that is being done and I am pleased that we have been given the opportunity to showcase this. The players were a credit to the club in their attitude, effortand ability”.