ARGYLE Academy Manager Kevin Hodges has expressed his gratitude...
...to the 50/50 Lottery draw for their generous contribution towards the travel costs of sending an Academy team to the Northern Ireland Milk Cup.
In previous years, both coaching staff and players have commented on the immense value of the tournament, which this year takes place at the end of July.
From a footballing perspective, it provides the players with the chance to compete against top quality teams from across the world, as well as learning about the unique features of tournament football, where you have to cope with the challenge of playing matches on consecutive days.
Off the field, the coaches are able to see how the players deal with being in a different environment.
Kevin said: "Seeing how they handle themselves and represent the club give useful indications that we don’t necessarily see as part of their normal training schedule, and we are very grateful for the support of the 50/50 draw in helping us provide this opportunity."
Having already had a successful trip to Premiership newcomers Cardiff City, the squad, made up of players in Under 13, Under 14 and Under 15 age-groups, travel to Crewe Alexandra this Thursday to face a club whose highly-rated Academy has produced a consistent stream of professional players over a sustained period of years.
Kevin said: "As well as being an important part of the preparations for the tournament, these matches also give the players experience of playing teams from outside our normal games programme - a valuable addition to their ongoing development in the Academy."
Whilst this season's training for most Academy age-groups has now finished, the Milk Cup squad will continue their preparations through the close season, training under the supervision of Academy coaches Chris Souness and Aaron Cusack, and Youth Development Phase Lead Coach Ian Stonebridge.