Fleetwood Town’s under 18’s have just returned back to England following a two-week educational football programme in Holland.
Led by academy coaches Nathan Rooney and Stephen Crainey, as well as physio Steve Macauley, Town’s youngsters played four games including victories over Dutch top division side FC Twente and German team MSV Duisburg.
The programme – which was funded by the LFE – saw the under 18’s fly to Amsterdam and based just outside the Dutch capital for two weeks, alongside fellow English side Wigan Athletic.
“The trip was outstanding for the group,” said head coach Rooney.
“On the trip we got access the characters within the group. It was great for me as a coach to learn more about the players away from the pitch, we were professional throughout the trip.
“Our players were up against a completely different style of play in every single game. Some teams would press high up the pitch, whilst others were happy to sit on the half way line and allow us possession in our own half.
“We played against physical sides too, so overall it was a massive learning experience and one that we wanted just a couple of weeks out from the season starting.”
The team also enjoyed a visit to the Amsterdam Arena, to watch Ajax face Feyenoord, a match Rooney is sure the lads will not forget.
“It was definitely the best game that I’ve ever visited, so it must have been the same for the lads too. Football is Holland is an obsession which is why I think in the past they have had a lot of success both nationally and internationally.
“We’ve got a really young team and the lads were brilliant – they had their own time including a trip to Amsterdam.”
With new season just around the corner, head coach Rooney is hoping to carry the positivity from the trip into the new campaign.
“We play Tranmere Rovers this Saturday in our opening game and we are hoping that we continue the momentum built from this trip into that match.
“Myself and Barry Nicholson took a Development Squad/Youth Team mix to Vienna two years ago and we came back and the team won five out of their first six.
“We are hoping for that sort of momentum again.”