The lads are in Ho Chi Minh City all week to take part in the Nutifood Cup – and are getting set to take on the home nation’s Under-19 national side in the final match of the tournament tomorrow (Friday).
It’s already been a fantastic few days for our youngsters, as they’ve strutted their stuff in front of crowds in excess of 18,000 people – winning Monday’s tournament opener against Japan Under-19s 2-1 before running Italian side Roma close on Wednesday, ultimately ending up on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline.
And as our preparations continue for tomorrow’s match against Vietnam Under-19s - 6pm local time, 11am UK time - Academy Manager John McDermott has told the lads to be prepared for another intense atmosphere.
“We’ve played in front of thousands of fans in our games so far and I would expect in the final game that they’ll want to come and watch a Premier League club against the home nation,” John said.
“The crowd have been really, really good – they’ve not been hostile in any way but obviously they’re going to back their own team on Friday so it’ll be an added pressure for us to deal with.”
The players know they’re capable of getting a result against the hosts, having excelled against international opposition in recent weeks.
Our 2-1 win against Japan Under-19s on Monday – described by John as “probably one of the proudest moments the boys have had so far” – came just weeks after our youngsters thrashed the USA Under-17 national side 6-2 at the IMG Cup in Florida.
“We’ve done really well against international sides,” John added. “We’ve obviously beaten the USA, we beat a very, very good Japan team, and now to pit our wits against a Vietnamese side – it’s going to be a true test of our lads’ character and ability.”