After a short journey through the night to Holland we arrived at Amsterdam airport ready to embark on a successful pre-season tour. The two hour coach journey to our hotel allowed us to catch up on last night’s sleep before we arrived in Venlo.
After checking into our hotel rooms and having lunch, we headed over to the local training pitch to train in order to get any ‘jet-lag’ out of our system with some small sided games.
That afternoon the majority of the lads took full advantage of the hotel’s facilities by heading down to the sauna and steam room, whilst others relaxed in the pool and jacuzzi area. The facilities at the hotel are great and I’m sure the boys will take full advantage of them during this first week.
The meal that night was due to start at 6.30pm however, we were a few minutes late, or shall I say, our Youth Team Coach Tony was a few minutes late due to still suffering from ‘heavier jet-lag’ and oversleeping! The lads have decided not to fine him though! The meal that night was “crazyyy nice” as Carlton would say, and the rest of the meals provided by the hotel have all been excellent.
The next day we had a once in a life-time opportunity to visit VVV Venlo and participate in a training session with Roger, VVV Venlo’s Head of Youth. Before the session Roger delivered a presentation on the youth and first team structure of VVV Venlo and other various aspects such as their history, missions and playing style.
This was well absorbed by all of the lads as it was different from what we are used to back in England, for example tactical formations that Dutch youngsters are brought up playing against what we have been taught up to now.
The training session then began, coached by Roger, and was immediately different from what we are used to. Things such as stretching, and off the ball warm-ups where not included in Rogers session. The session was great though and was a good opportunity for us all to learn new things.
Lunch was then provided by VVV Venlo before heading back to the hotel for a quick stop. In the afternoon we had the second training session of the day. This time Tony took us through some shape and patterns of play.
Up to now the tour has been great because it gives you a taster of how other clubs in different countries work and operate, whilst also providing the team and club staff the chance to generate togetherness.
However, some of the lads have decided to leave their common sense back in England, cough cough, Luke Simpson, after genuinely wondering what channel the first team’s pre-season game against Manchester City was on in the hotel room tonight… I don’t think they are too interested in that one over here in Holland!
We are going to Fortuna Sittard tomorrow and the boys are really looking forward to it.