Since my last blog, our team has moved hotels.
We are now settled in at the Papendal Sports Facility, which was the venue for our first match of the tour against Vitesse Arnhem. The team has settled in very quickly even though it is a bit of a change from the previous hotel.
We are now staying with the three other English clubs that are on tour and are also in the LFE Invitational Tournament – Walsall, Scunthorpe and Watford.
To compromise this factor, the hotel is much larger than the previous and as you can imagine getting around takes a little longer. It is a quick five minute bike ride to training and matches.
We can have no complaints about the facilities as they are second to none here and I can definitely understand why the Papendal is home to the Dutch Olympic Team.
As Sunday was our day in transit, we had a light training session in the afternoon to prepare ourselves for our clash with Walsall the following day.
With the luxury of having a “pitch and putt” golf course in the hotel, some of the players used this to wind down in the morning before the game. Others, who were rubbish at golf, like me decided to relax in our bedrooms.
The match kicked off at 6:00pm, we started quite sloppy with playing stray passes between our defence and midfield. This seemed to set the tone for the whole game.
As a result, we fell behind midway in the first half through a free header from a corner. However, Jordan Ibe posed a threat all game and he managed to cross the ball to an unmarked Max Herbert who drew us level.
The match was tight going into the second half but we became a bit sloppy at both ends of the field and the experienced Walsall side took the chances that they were presented with.
In the end we fell 3-2 down with Lee Wright rifling in a consolation goal from inside the area. Knowing we had a lot to improve on, we got a good night’s rest determined to react positively to the disappointing result.
The following day, we took an excursion to a World War 2 museum in Arnhem.
Everyone seemed quite humbled at the museum as we all realised what those soldiers sacrificed in 1944 for us today. Personally, I was very moved by our visit to the grave stones of the soldiers that had unfortunately passed away all those years ago.
I believe that our trip to the museum and the graveyard of the soldiers was invaluable as it showed us how football is not hugely important compared to other things.
After our thought-provoking trip we ate lunch at the hotel and prepared ourselves for training and a bike ride in the afternoon.
The food at the hotel has been superb, with a diverse variety of foods to choose from. There was a very lively atmosphere in training today so I’m looking forward to returning to the pitch tomorrow as we look to improve on Monday’s performance.
We play an amateur side SVV Youth tomorrow so we can expect a technical game with possession possibly ruling the result. Everyone is looking forward to it!