Day one started at the training ground at 5:15am so slightly earlier than usual though we had a touch of good fortune when it came down to the flight.
We were delayed by only two hours which was frustrating at the time but inconsequential in comparison to some of the issues that faced the other clubs (particularly Sheffield United) on their way out here.
The airport delay actually started the tour on an interesting note with some of the lads interacting with other passengers, signing autographs and having pictures taken with them.
When we boarded the plane, Dylan (Mottley-Henry) who had already tried take his wash bag through security, was put next to the emergency exit which rang alarm bells for a few of us – though thankfully we didn’t need to use it.
Though one of the lads was a phone light as we went through Passport control in Amsterdam – he’d left it on the plane!
From the airport it was a two hour transfer to Parkhotel Horst which went quickly as everyone slept the whole way. Once we were settled into the rooms we had the rest of the evening to look around the hotel and surrounding areas.
Our first full day started at 8:30am for breakfast and then at 10:00am we all headed over to the pitches where we were met by FC Roda coach Dirk Jan Dirksen (pictured) who took our session.
He was enthusiastic, a good laugh and sounded a bit like Steve McClaren!
The session was technical and was very structured, progressing in tempo and quality. We played some mini games throughout, which were fun but also had an emphasis on teamwork. It was quite nice to work with Dirk and sample a slightly different approach to things than we’re used to.
After the first session we had a bit of free time and some of the lads went on a bike ride for a look around the area which includes two lakes. Others played table football and settled down to play on the PS3 supplied by the hotel.
The second session only lasted an hour and a thunder storm ensured we made a swifter than expected return to the hotel. Overall it has been a good start to our trip and we are all looking forward for to our first game against NEC Nijmegen.