PDP Lead Coach Chris Brown says Youth Team’s pre-season trip to Holland was an unbelievable experience for the lads.
He was speaking ahead of their first game of the season against Bury in the EFL North West Youth Alliance League on Saturday.
The 12-night stay in Holland, organised by the LFE, saw Dale play three matches, as well as train at local club VVV Venlo.
“It was unbelievable, to be honest with you,” said Brown.
“The trip was superb for everybody, staff and players. The whole set-up, the games we played, the hotel we stayed at, the training venue, what the lads did – I couldn’t speak highly enough of the trip.
“The facilities for the lads were superb. The swimming pool, gym, meeting room, the training venue which was just across road, were really, really good.
“It was interesting to see how the lads operate on a day-to-day basis, to see who does what and how they look after themselves.
“At the start of the week I think the lads felt it was more of a relaxed training camp – and they soon found out that it wasn’t! We were there to do some hard work on the grass.
“The first couple of days opened their eyes to what we were there for, then after that we got some good training sessions in and the lads started to gel together, which will help us throughout the season.”
Dale faced Dutch sides Feyenoord and NAC Breda on the trip, either side of a match against Belgian team KAA Gent.
“The matches were good for us. The first game – Feyenoord were an unbelievable team. We played okay, but I think the lads were shocked at how good the opposition were.
“We got a response against KAA Gent, winning 5-0, and it could have been more. We were in their penalty area 55 times and created 28 chances, so it was disappointing not to convert more even though we won 5-0! The forward play and the build-up play was good, but we just lacked that end product.
“It was more of the same in the game against NAC Breda – we had countless opportunities to score and drew 1-1, when we had a number of great chances to score.
“Progressively from the first game, to where we ended up, was quite good, so hopefully we can take that into the game against Bury.”
The first game of the season throws up a derby game against local rivals Bury, and Brown hopes the scholars can start as they meant to go on throughout the campaign.
“There’s no better way to start. It will be a tough test against a local rival, but some of the second-years need to step-up and start being leaders, which I hope they do against Bury.
“Some might be disappointed that they’re not playing, but they have to show us and themselves why they’re here and what they need to be doing. If they don’t do that then they won’t be playing, the first-years or under-16s will take their place.
“They need to do the right things instead of cutting corners, because some of them aren’t doing what they need to be doing at this moment in time, which will hinder them in the long run rather than help them.
“The first-year lads have still got a lot to learn. It’s work time now, it’s not school time. It’s proper stuff and some of them have got to get used to it. It’s hit them hard, but we’ll help them get through that.”
Watch the full interview with Brown on iFollow above.
The Youth Team’s game at Bury’s Carrington Training Complex kicks off at 11am on Saturday. Click HERE for full details.