City u18s Head Coach Jason Wilcox is delighted with the progress of the newest batch of Academy scholars on pre-season tour in Croatia.
His young charges are working hard in the punishing Novigrad heat, with two training sessions a day designed to improve fitness, but also work on technique, decision making and the tactical components of the game.
With temperatures pushing into the 30s, the sessions remain at a high intensity as Jason and his new assistant coach, Gareth Whalley, try to prepare a young squad largely composed of first year scholars for the tough season ahead.
The EDS in house game has given an opportunity for the coaching duo to test some of the players by including them in Patrick Vieira’s squad for Wednesday night’s clash of City XIs.
Although that decision meant that numbers were restricted for the u18 match, the chance to let youngsters be involved with the older age group when they’re ready is a critical part of the Academy philosophy, and Wilcox is quick to point to out the extra motivation that those chances can give in consistently striving for higher standards.
“It’s a fantastic experience for them,” Wilcox declared. “I’m looking forward to watching them tonight. It’s a big opportunity and a big challenge but one I’m sure that they’ll relish.”
However, there was certainly no let-up in intensity or competitive spirit as Jason replicated an in house session with a 6 v 6 game on a smaller pitch.
After each 20 minute slot, the losers had to do 15 press ups so there was plenty of reasons to impress, and Isaac Buckley, Manuel Garcia and Zackarias Faour all caught the eye in front of goal.
Isaac helped himself to a hattrick of strikes, while Garcia gave the watching staff a glimpse of his talent to bamboozle defences with a silky piece of skill, which you can see with your own eyes on youtube.
Callum Bullock was unlucky not to add his name to the scoresheet with a shot that cannoned back off the bar, while Charlie Oliver remained resolute in defence.
The in house games are designed to start preparing the boys for their first pre-season test against foreign opposition, and Saturday’s date with FC Gorica is fast approaching.
We’ll have a match report and reaction from the game right here on mcfc.co.uk.