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Under-18s step up preparations

We will be looking at the way the players behave, being away from home for a concerted period time. Looking individually and within the team dynamics as well.

Steve Spooner

Blues Youths have headed to Holland for a 13-day tour and friendly matches.

Steve Spooner’s side are taking part in the League Football Education organised event, with seven other English clubs.

They face Feyenoord Under-19s on Saturday, KAA Gent Under-18s on Tuesday and NAC Breda Under-19s on Saturday, 11 August.

The initiative promotes development and facilitates the exchange of skills and ideas between coaches and players in both countries.

The Dutch experience has been designed to broaden personal and professional horizons, with the players scheduled to take part in a range of cultural activities.

These include language lessons, a visit to the Overloon War Museum and a trip to Amsterdam city centre, as well as footgolf, an Amsterdam Arena tour and tickets to watch Eredivisie champions PSV play against KNVB Cup winners Feyenoord in the Johan Cruyff Shield, held at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven.

For Spooner, the trip will serve many purposes.

“I hope we come back with a clearer picture in our minds of what our starting line-up is going to look like. Going out there, we have some clear goals we want to be better with. Our passing has got to be more consistent and quicker, our movement has got to be better and our attacking play is a little bit predictable at the moment.

“On the defensive side, we have got to set up in the shape we want to play and players have got to know their individual requirements within that.

“And we will get back to being a team that presses and hunts the ball, try and get it back as quick as we can.

“But it’s about building that team ethic, too. A lot of them know one another anyway because they have come through the Academy. But they’ve got to now start to be in a position where they start to challenge one another. They’re there to be friends but not to just to put their arms round one another and pat them on the back; they have got to be challenging one another and setting the standard.

“We will be looking at the way the players behave, being away from home for a concerted period time. Looking individually and within the team dynamics as well.

“Because it is funded through the LFE, it’s got the education section bolted to it. It’s about learning experiences. Educationally and also about being away from home, training, fatigue, dealing with that. Discipline, being on time for dinner. They are all on the curve of learning to be a professional.”

Josh Andrews has missed the trip due to injury, whilst England Under-16s captain Jude Bellingham and fellow 15-year-olds Remi Walker and Charlie Noakes are part of the squad.

Squad: Josh Bradley-Hurst, Ben Haywood, Lewis Landers, Lucas Powell, Nick Kinina, Kai Knight, Nico Gordon, Ryan Moore, Charlie Noakes, Mitch Roberts, Kayden May, Tate Campbell, Rhys Hilton, Jude Bellingham, Kane Thompson-Sommers, Kyle Hurst, Christ Mayuba, Nick Okoro, Remi Walker, Oumar Traore, Adan George.

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