PDP Lead Coach Chris Brown hopes the Youth Team’s pre-season trip to Holland sees the youngsters develop both on and off the pitch.
They travel to VVV Venlo for 12 nights as part of the Erasmus+ funded trip organised by the League Football Education (LFE).
The players will train daily, including sessions with Dutch coaches, as well as playing three matches against foreign sides, something Brown hopes they can learn new things from.
“Being there for 12 nights is a long time, and it’s a really good pre-First-Team experience, if they get the chance to go Tenerife for pre-season when they’re older.
“They’ll get used to the coaches over there,” said Brown. “They’ve got four sessions with the under-17 and under-19 coaches at VVV Venlo, which will be really good to see how their coaching is, what the sessions are like, which will be really interesting for the lads, as it will for myself and the coaching staff.
“It will be good take them out of the normal environment but still have the same expectations of them and integrate the first-years with the second-years.
“It will be worthwhile for them out there, but also in the long run, hoping that by the start of the season we can become a good team and hopefully get some professional contracts out of it for the second-years.
“As coaches, we can take some ideas off them and see how they develop their kids, because the Dutch, in general, are good at bringing youth through, so it will be really interesting to see.”
As well as the football side of the trip, the scholars will also get the opportunity to learn about the culture, with trips organised to museums, bike tours, and watching the Johan Cruyff Shield (Dutch Super Cup) match between PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord.
“They’re getting a whole package of how it is over there. It’s also good to take the lads to different countries, taking some of them who haven’t been away before, which is a real positive.
“We’ll also be going to a war museum, on a tour of the Amsterdam Arena, and Amsterdam itself, as well as watching the Dutch Super Cup.
“Overall, it’s deemed as an educational trip, which is the lads understanding what life is like in foreign countries, particularly around football and what the culture is like.”
The trip will also give the scholars extra responsibility, in terms of meeting for breakfast and arriving at training on time, which Brown hopes will help them mature.
“They’re responsible for their own passport first and foremost!
“They’ll get to see what it’s like visiting foreign countries, getting up for a certain time, having breakfast at a certain time, being on the training pitch for a certain time. It’s a little bit different at the club, where it’s very routine and structured.
“We speak about the six P’s of professionalism, and punctuality is the first one we expect. The second one is preparation, are they prepared to train?
“We go on about those all the time, so for them to do the right things and the right time will be them maturing as people and players, and understanding what’s really important, especially in football.”
The Youth Team have been back in training for a month now, and played three friendlies before departing for Holland, drawing two and losing one.
“It’s going okay. It was slow starting. It’s taken a while for the first-years to bed in, and for the second-years as well.
“I was quite surprised with how well we played against Preston North End. We played some good stuff, and you could see good foundations building, but there’s still lots of hard work to do.
“The Droylsden game was different up against their first team. We conceded goals which we shouldn’t have, but also had some good opportunities to score. It was good to see how the lads matched up against them and how they challenged themselves. It was good playing in a stadium against a men’s team because it throws different challenges atthem.
“I think over the three/four weeks we’ve been back, I think it’s taken the first-years quite a bit of time to bed in and understand that training everyday, double sessions, gym sessions, is really tough.
“The expectations around the club have stepped up and they’ve noticed it downstairs, so it’s a ‘welcome to the real world’ sort of thing.”
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