After Tuesday’s victory, we planned for a recovery day and took it easy on Wednesday.
A light spin class took place, which for most of us was the first we had took part in during the trip. We didn’t realise how hard it can be – an absolute killer! But at the same time, it was made very enjoyable by the instructor, who was quality.
A lot of the boys were looking forward to Thursday as it was our second day on the tour with coaches from NAC Breda. The ground is really tidy, although the pitch we trained on was a 3G while Carlisle were on the new 4g main pitch – definitely not on! It was also absolutely boiling which nobody enjoyed!
Again we noticed how detailed the coaching was based on the technical side of the game. All the drills looked very simple, but as we know, doing the simple bits well is the most important thing. We also noticed how much the boys have the ball at their feet compared to other sessions. As usual, I had to watch as I can’t take part due to my injury and also spent some time with Nick the Physio in the dressing rooms, where it was a lot cooler!
After a short trip back to the hotel and a much-needed lunch, the boys got ready for a further session at our own training camp. This was to be a short, intense session. Meanwhile I took advantage of the gym and pool facilities at the hotel and hit both of them to help my injury.
Game preparation day followed. The plan for the morning was just a light training session at our training camp. The boys had their training session whilst a fellow injured teammate and I constructed a circuit to help build our strength around our injuries.
We were all very tired today, so after lunch it was chill time. The hotel had footgolf as an activity on site and most the lads took part in the 18 hole game. Meanwhile, I hit the gym and the pool again! It’s been disappointing to miss out on the playing side of things but I know I’ll be back stronger than ever and benefit from all the hard work I’ve put in!
As it was our last night here at this brilliant hotel, we were given a big barbecue alongside the lake next to the hotel. We all loved this and tore into the delicious food served to us after an exhausting 12 days. A perfect way to relax and enjoy ourselves before our challenging final day.
Game day arrived and the atmosphere in the group was very mixed – focused on our big game later on, but a bit of sadness that this would be our last day in Holland. Although saying that, a lot were also happy to be able to see their loved ones again later!
After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and boarded the coach to travel half an hour or so to our final game here against the notorious PSV Eindhoven U17’s squad. I would just like to thank the entire staff that work at the hotel for an incredible and enjoyable stay there – it was much appreciated by all of us!
We were all buzzing for this match! We arrived at their training ground and were amazed by how brilliant their facilities and pitches were. It was shaping up to be a brilliant game and even the weather was on our side: a lovely warm day, but not too hot.
The game started great as we created a number of early chances and put PSV on the back foot. Despite this, we were unable to finish any of our chances and the first half remained 0-0. A strong half from the boys and we felt a bit disappointed not to be in front!
The second half got underway and we were soon awarded a penalty after great team play down the right. We were able to capitalise on this with Kyren Mundle-Smith putting us ahead! However, shortly after the opponents were able to equalise through an unfortunate mistake at the back. The score remained 1-1, with both teams having chances to take the game. Then, deep into stoppage time, PSV were gifted an opportunity, which they converted to win 2-1.
The boys came off the pitch very disappointed to lose as we knew we were the better team. An unfortunate result, but it is very promising to know we dominated against such a strong team!