We were in on Monday morning for our usual College work from 9am – 11am and from there it’s straight out for training.
It was quite a light session as we had a tough day coming up on the Tuesday and it’s very much a case of recharging the batteries after the previous game.
The following day we had a hour long 11v11 game between ourselves which was played at quite high intensity. That over, we had lunch before doing some 5v5 games in the afternoon followed by endurance work.
5v5s are really hard work, you get a lot of touches and it’s tight, demanding and tough – add into the mix that you know that once it’s finished you’ll be doing some serious running as well – it’s not exactly something to look forward to.
You want to do your best in the football but at the back of your mind there is the horrible feeling that you’re going to be running afterwards – it almost gives you a nervous sickly feeling.
Wednesday’s is a full day on education which our education guru Jimmy Nelson organises (the Club’s Education & Welfare Officer) – it was nice to rest the legs and everyone worked well in the classroom to the extent that we were rewarded with an early finish.
Thursday was 1v1 and 2v2 games to concentrate on defending. These sessions are really good if you are a defender, it teaches you how tight to get, how to quickly you need to close down an opponent, the importance of staying on your feet and trying to dictate where they play.
For example, if a ball goes in to the striker and he gets a great first touch, that might dictate how quickly you close him down bearing in mind you don’t want to sell yourself. You might try and get out quicker if he doesn’t get a good first touch and you can then dictate a little more in terms of making him go into an area he doesn’t want to.
We then went on to an 11v11 with coaching the main aim but still on the defensive side of the game. It was really an extension of the earlier sessions with the key aims being to keep our shape and close down the opposition collectively.
We went through it again on friday along with some set pieces and that was us ready to travel for a tough fixture at Sheffield Wednesday.
Academy Match: Sheffield Wednesday v Newcastle United
We started the game really brightly and should have gone one up within two minutes – the frustrating thing is that this pattern continued through the first half. We pinned them in their own half for long periods but just couldn’t make the breakthrough. The 0- 0 score at half-time was not a reflection of our dominance and to compound matters within minutes of the 2nd half we went behind.
They quickly added a second and from there in I knew that it was going to be one of those days that we’d rue our wasted opportunities. Despite pulling one back with 15 minutes left and creating chances to draw level it was just one of those days and we left Middlewood as 2-1 losers!