Buen día and welcome to day three of the EDS and Academy tour to Spain, sponsored by sun cream, large amounts of water and the phrase “crikey, it’s warm”.
The hard work continues for all in the hot sun, with attacking combinations the focus of Tuesday morning’s session at the Pinatar Arena.
Following a session like that it only seem right that we sat down with a striker for an interview after lunch, and the newest member of the EDS, David Faupala was only too happy to oblige.
Signed from Lens, the 18-year-old is a French youth international and has been putting away a few tidy finishes during training this week. My few words of GCSE French, which mainly involve ordering food in a restaurant and asking for directions to the railway station, simply weren’t going to cut it for an on-camera interview so it was lucky Thierry Ambrose was happy to step up as translator.
Are you sure you’re not after a job with CityTV, Thierry?
The full interview will be available on mcfc.co.uk over the coming weeks, but David was happy to chat about his first few weeks as a blue, and he explained exactly why he chose City.
In the afternoon it was time to head into the gym and swimming pool for individual workouts, before a serious chat from the doctor and his medical team about equipment used in the case of serious injuries.
The Academy’s job is to prepare these boys for a career in professional football, and occasionally and unfortunately that can bring serious injuries. Part of the way to minimise risks is education, so the doctor showed players and staff the equipment he might use in an emergency to calm fears – both now and should the occasion ever arise.
As well as a quick demonstration of all the tools lying in the doctor’s bag, he dispensed a large dollop of advice on correct procedures from bystanders – including a focus on getting help and, if necessary, administering CPR.
While it might sound scary, the idea is that forewarned is forearmed. We’re all now far more likely to behave in a controlled, helpful manner if the worst should happen.Education, education, education! Every day is a school day, dear readers.
On a lighter note, we persuaded five of the boys to be our first participants in CityTV’s skills challenges once the doc had concluded his session.
How many kick ups can the players do… while wearing a blindfold?
You’ll have to wait and see but I don’t think I’m sharing too much when I tell you they were all extremely tickled by each other’s attempts – our French boys were rolling around on the floor at one point. Literally.
Wednesday brought the first match test – sort of. Instead of facing local opposition, City EDS and under-18s took on each other in an in-house affair under the careful watch of Patrick Vieira and Jason Wilcox.
Wilcox gave his under-18s a welcome lie-in before a classroom session looking at tactics. No such luck for the EDS boys, staff and your trusty media team. We were gathered in reception at the usual time of 7.20am ready for breakfast and our usual morning training.
Warm-ups were conducted by enthusiastic skills coach, Kristian Wilson, who knows his players well and is always keen to introduce a competitive element to proceedings. Apparently, young professional footballers are competitive. Who knew?
Those who were deemed to have started slowly were quickly identified, while those who performed best earned a move to the “Premier League” group.
It was only a light session ahead of the evening’s game and the focus was on set pieces, which seemed to bring out the best in the forwards of the party, particularly Aaron Nemane who netted this cracker.
You can find out more about him by watching his One to Watch interview with CityTV here.
The in house game introduced an element of our old friend, competitive rivalry, with the u18s taking on the EDS in front of a crowd of interested locals and holiday makers. The shadows may have been creeping in but the temperatures dictated a game of thirds, rather than halves with water breaks every 12 ½ minutes.
As you might expect from a pre-season game, there was plenty of tinkering from the bench and rolling substitutes kept yours truly out of trouble.
The starting XIs were:
EDS: O'Brien, Tattum, Oliver, Trialist A, Kongolo, Intima, Hardy, Fernandes, Trialist B, Faupala, Nemane
U18s: Albinson, Bullock, Murray, Kigbu, Blackshaw, Davenport, Diallo, Patching, Trialist C, Buckley, Nmecha.
It was certainly a very young u18s side with the ink still drying on the majority of the XIs scholarship forms, signed only two weeks ago, but they impressed and earned a 2-2 draw against their elders.
Lukas Nmecha was a constant thorn down the left hand side and it was his pace on the left that drew the opening goal – brought down in the box after a burst, he stepped up himself to convert the spot kick.
The reply was a set piece goal from Paolo Fernandes, a familiar sight to regular watchers of the u18s on a Saturday morning. However, Zackarias Faour restored the lead from close range after robbing makeshift centre back Marcus Wood before David Faupala opened his City account from the spot – an emphatic penalty that gave keeper Daniel Grimshaw no chance.
All four goals came before the 40th minute mark but the game was still played at a good pace and intensity, considering there are still a good few weeks of pre-season ahead. As Patrick Vieira said in his post-match reaction, the main objective was to get minutes into legs and escape with no injuries – mission well and truly accomplished.
Back to training tomorrow with Real Murcia on the horizon for the u18s on Saturday, while both the EDS and u18s look forward to taking on Real Elche on Tuesday.
An early night called for, methinks!
See you tomorrow…