On Tuesday we had another day which most of the lads hate… ‘the long one’. This is when we’re in the gym at 8.00am and then have morning and afternoon sessions before watching the first team play at home at night. I normally get home just after 10pm and it’s a very long day to say the least, but it does seem to go quite quickly.
Both training sessions consisted of us playing possession games in small groups, we started with 4 v 4’s before it was made bigger and we played 8 v 8’s. In the morning it rained pretty hard during training and with the Academy pitch being really open the wind was blowing a gale straight across from right to left which made it twice as hard to keep the ball because we were all playing at a high tempo and running after the ball so that we didn’t get cold!
In the afternoon the weather had settled down and we did some more possession play before doing runs to finish off with. It wasn’t that bad but we all dread the runs at the end! We had ‘horse shoe’ runs to do which consist of sprinting round the pitch as fast as you can and we had four of these to do.
I caught a bus back home after training, had a quick nap, got my usual chicken and pasta before heading back for the first team game. They slipped to a 1-1 draw after leading for most of the game, but I was just happy to get back home and go to bed after what had been a long tiring day!
We had education on Wednesday; it was a pretty laid back day for me which was good because I was having one of those days where everything is a blur because I was knackered. I had to watch two matches on the computers and do an analysis of Lee Martin (from the first team) and myself to look at comparisons and differences in the way we both play.
This was fairly convenient because during the afternoon I had my coach review, this is something that happens twice a year and is when you sit down with your coach and a teacher. It’s a process of me assessing myself and my ability and my coach will assess the same areas. We both tick boxes that rate certain attributes about me as a player both technically, tactically, physically and mentally. It normally lasts about twenty minutes or so, and then you write out targets to work on over the next six months before the next review to assess how you’ve improved over that period of time as a player both on and off the pitch.
I got back home around half three and must have been sat in front of my television playing play-station with my brother for about 3 hours. We were on Pro-Evolution Soccer which my brother can never beat me at. You know what brothers are like with winning things against each other, I hate losing to one of my brothers, but I’ll rub it in so much when I beat one of them!
This season we haven’t really had any lengthy amounts of time off, so we were given four days because we didn’t have a game at the weekend. It’s always good to have a few days off because you can relax, re-energise and just forget about football for a bit and then come back fresh and ready to go again and train hard.
The four days off were from Thursday to Sunday and oh my god did they go fast! It seems as if it went quicker than having a normal weekend off which is strange, but on one of my days off I went back to my old school. I don’t get to see my friends together from school that much because of my commitments to football so it was nice to go back and see some old mates who I’ve grown up with.
Going back to school reminds me of how lucky I am to be where I am. The last place I would want to be is at school doing five lessons every day – it’s much better playing football day in day out which is what I want to do for the next 10 or 20 years. Going back also reminded me of the good times of when we used to have kick-abouts and play the older lads even though we used to beat them all the time!
During my time off I just rested really and walked the dog a few times which is something I usually refuse to do because I am not picking his mess up! I also had a kick-about with my brother and went for a run just to keep my fitness ticking over.
On the Saturday morning I came in to the Study Support Centre with another team mate to help promote reading to youngsters. This lasted about an hour in which we read a few stories and did a question and answer session with them to let them know what it’s like being young football Apprentices.