It’s the first match day here in Singapore at the Lion City Cup and the squad assembled together for breakfast after their first lie-in of the trip.
Nutrition is an important factor when playing football and the Academy’s Luke Hawkes has been keeping a close eye on the food the players are consuming on the trip, trying to ensure that they get what they need to do the business on the pitch.
Pasta has been on the menu most nights, which is well known as a carbohydrate that gives athletes a quick and lasting shot of energy. The boys will eat four hours before kick-off today, the perfect time to provide energy without them feeling bloated which could be terminal in these temperatures.
Unlike the Premier League, at this level not a lot is known about the opposition going into these games which, while leaving a dangerous sense of the unknown, can work to a team’s advantage. At the team meeting the importance was placed on City playing their own game against Vasco da Gama.
Playing your own game is a cliché but it’s pertinent in this case and there’s no doubt that from what I’ve seen in training, the spectators at the Jalan Besar stadium will find plenty to admire in this group of players.
I did manage to watch England v Italy last night and I was as upset as anyone that the game went all the way to penalties – it was 5.45am before I finally got some sleep so I was grateful for the later start this morning.
The national team is in the middle of a spell of soul searching and on this trip I’ve been reflecting that perhaps the penny has dropped in English football on the importance of technique in the modern game.
There are players on this trip with excellent ball retention skills right through from goalkeeper to attack which you wouldn’t naturally associate with English footballers. If other club's academy teams are playing in this manner too, then maybe the future is bright for the England team.
Finally, there’s plenty of talk about a fruit called a “durian” on the trip. This local Singapore delicacy has a pungent aroma that is not pleasant and, for this reason, they’re banned in a lot of inside spaces but there’s a stand selling them opposite to the hotel and we’re going to try to get the boys to try one on camera before this trip is out.
Watch this space…