Four Football League Clubs will take their Apprentice players to Holland today to continue their preparations for the new season in a tour that has been organised by League Football Education (LFE).
LFE’S pre-season tour programme will see Apprentice players from Scunthorpe United, Walsall, Watford and Wycombe Wanderers take up temporary residence at top Dutch sides ADO Den Haag, FC Utrecht, Feyenoord and NEC Nijmegen between 25 July and 6 August.
The initiative, which is fully subsidised by the Leonardo Da Vinci fund for Life Long Learning, will provide plenty of opportunities for the youngsters to sample a different football culture and to broaden their horizons both personally and professionally.
As well as competing in an eight team youth tournament, the youth players will also participate in training sessions with some of Holland’s top Coaches at state-of the-art facilities. In addition, the lads will be interested observers at the Dutch Super Cup Final featuring Ajax vs FC Twente at the Amsterdam Arena and they will also visit the Arnhem War Memorial to pay tribute to those that lost their lives during World War Two.
Dan Jolley, Project Manager at LFE, says: “This is the third year we’ve been awarded funds for our ‘Leonardo Life Long Learning’ programme, which is very encouraging on two levels. Not only is it recognition that our objectives are strongly aligned with those of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme’s to exchange best practice between European nations, increase staff expertise and develop learners’ skills, but it also allows us to support young English football talent and take the work we already do as an organisation to an even greater level.”
“74 of our Apprentices will be heading out to Holland and we’ve no doubt that they will enjoy the trip.”
He added: “On a professional basis it’s a great opportunity for them as players to experience different styles of play, coaching and tactics while on a cultural level it should help them all to develop as individuals.”
Scunthorpe United’s Head of Youth Tony Daws said: “This tour represents a fantastic football opportunity that many of the players here will remember for the rest of their lives.”
“I can remember going on a similar trip as a player and it is still talked about today,” he added.
It is not just players who will reap the benefits as Watford Academy Manager Nick Cox explained: “The tour will also give us the chance to learn more about our own players. You’re seeing them 24-hours a day so you can take a lot from that and not just in a football sense.”
“For some it may be teaching them about other cultures and by going abroad they can experience it first-hand, while for others it’ll be more about making sure they integrate with team-mates and work on communication and social skills.”