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Stemwede challenge for Academy lads

Posted on 21 May 2015  - 16:00

Hot on the heels of a successful outing at the Terborg Tournament in Holland last weekend, our Academy players are once again readying themselves for action on the continent, having jetted off to Germany to take part in the Volksbank Cup in Stemwede.

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Kicking off on Friday against German side FC Nurnberg (6.30pm local time), we then face Austrian giants Red Bull Salzburg (10am local time) and local outfit Muhlenkreis Team (2.30pm local time) on Saturday.

We last took part in the competition in 2012, with Under-18s Coach Kieran McKenna illustrating how this kind of event is vital for the development of our young players.

“We came here three years ago with Nabil Bentaleb, Alex Pritchard and co in the team and we had a really successful tournament,” he recalled. “We ended up losing in the final, but Nabil was Player of the Tournament which was obviously one of the most pleasing things we took away from the whole thing.

“This time around we’re looking to build on a relatively successful tournament last weekend in Holland which saw some big performances, so the boys will be looking to continue that good form and hopefully other players from this group – which is slightly younger than last week – will really step up and shine over the next few days.”

Assessing the opposition in the group stage, Kieran expects the players to have to deal with a wide range of challenges.

“We saw Red Bull Salzburg at a tournament last year in Dusseldorf – they were a very strong side who ended up winning the title and they’re usually very good at this level, very organised and good at playing at a high tempo, so that match will certainly be a challenge,” he said.

“Nurnberg are obviously a top German team who compete in the top level of German youth football so that’ll be a good test and the Muhlenkreis Team will be an interesting opponent as well. They have the local support behind them and they’ll be very motivated for the game, but we’re aiming to perform well, get out of the group and hopefully face some of the top teams from the other group further down the line.”