I still can’t believe how quick this season has flown by. During the first few weeks of the season it feels as though it will last forever especially when you’re doing pre-season work but as soon as the games start the season just seems to gather pace.
It feels like we just had pre-season last month but instead we’re getting prepared for our final matches of the season but one thing is for sure this year has been a steep learning curve. And of the areas of my game that has definitely benefitted from being a full-time Apprentice is my understanding of the need to keep possession and this is something we’re still working heavily on at the moment.
In training we work on being able to have the ability to retain possession in an opponent’s half and this is reinforced in some of the work we have been doing in the classroom. Our Academy coaches have been showing us quite a lot of footage taken from Barcelona matches. They are arguably the best team in the world at the moment and there ability to keep the ball is well documented so if we can pick up anything from watching them that we can implement it only benefits us all as players.
One of the key focuses has been to move the ball quickly and limit the number of touches you take, how often do you see Xavi, Iniesta, Alves etc taking 5 or 6 touches on the ball – it doesn’t happen they play 2-3 touch football and change their position every time they make a pass.
I know a lot of people will say that they overplay but it is all very clever intricate stuff that is designed to change the picture/pattern of the play each time a pass is made, this in turn can lead to opportunities being created while at the same time tiring your opposition who feel the mental and physical effects of chasing the ball.
After a free weekend spent relaxing and seeing friends it was back in to the training ground in preparation for the game against Leeds United on Tuesday.
Academy Match: Newcastle United v Leeds United
I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs that I always enjoy playing against Leeds, so I was well up for this game.
The pleasing thing is that everyone’s attitude was right from the off and we took control of the game putting them on the back-foot. Sammy scored a beauty when they failed to clear a corner and even though they equalised against the run of play we were able to respond via Sammy and Brad producing some great play to edge us back ahead…
We took a 2 goal lead after the half, Macca converting from close range and he got a second to cap a great performance. I was pleased for him as injury has ruled him out for quite a period of time so it was great to see him back and scoring.
One game to go and it’s all over but speaking on a Club level this year has been fantastic, I was made up that the lads in the first team have done the business this term to win the Championship.
The Gaffer and all the lads in the first team have been brilliant all year long when a lot of people wrote them off at the start of the year and they deserve every credit of bouncing back at the first time of asking, I for one am quite excited at the prospect of the club’s return to the Premier League.