Cheltenham Town, Derby County and Oldham Athletic (pictured, on arrival) take their Apprentice players to the Netherlands today to embark on the pre-season tour organised by LFE.
The tour, which will last until 10 August, will help the Clubs continue their preparations for the new season by pitting them against some top Dutch Clubs and giving their youth-team players the chance to take on continental opposition.
The three Football League Clubs will all be based at Eredivisie outfits, with Cheltenham staying at Willem II in Tilburg, Derby residing in The Hague with ADO Den Haag and Oldham being hosted close to the German border at VVV-Venlo.
The English sides will all play a minimum of three matches on the twelve-day tour which will include fixtures against the likes of De Graafschap, Feyenoord, Fortuna Sittard, NEC Nijmegen and Vitesse Arnhem.
The initiative, which is fully subsidised by the Leonardo Da Vinci Fund for Life Long Learning, will provide plenty of opportunities for the players to sample a different football culture and to broaden their horizons both personally and professionally.
As well as participating in training sessions with some of the country’s top coaches at state-of-the-art facilities, the lads will also get the opportunity to meet and question former England Manager and current FC Twente boss Steve McClaren on all things football-related.
The players will also take in the Dutch Super Cup Final to watch Ajax vs PSV Eindhoven for the Johan Cruyff Shield.
Dan Jolley, Project Manager at LFE, says:
“This is the fourth year we’ve been awarded funds for our ‘Leonardo Life Long Learning’ programme, which is good news 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.”
“Fifty-two of our Apprentices will be heading out to Holland and we’ve no doubt that it will benefit them. Culturally it’s the chance for them to sample a different way of life while on the pitch experiencing different styles of play, coaching and tactics can only help them become better players.”