Academy Manager Eric Ramsay brings us his daily diary from Denmark
After a full-day of travelling and settling in to our accomodation yesterday, the Iber Cup got into full swing today.
Each team had a pre-match meeting this morning in which game plans were discussed and some creative (and ultimately unsuccessful!) set-pieces were devised and rehearsed.
First-up were the U15s and U16s combined group that are playing in the 2002 tournament. The group snatched a 1-1 draw with Norweigian side Ullern following the award of a late penalty that was scored by Kian Garbett - he showed real composure in what was a high-pressure situation. A large number of this group are 2003 births and, in effect, are playing in the age-grade above. This was reflected in the physical make-ups of our side and theirs. Whilst the performance wasn’t free-flowing, the players rose well to the game’s physical challenge.
The U18s' game vs Danish side Slagelse BI followed later in the day. A strong performance in which the side dominated possession and had a huge number of chances that weren’t converted resulted in a 3-0 win. The goals came from Lifumpa Mwandwe (2) and Archie Elmore.
Callum McKenzie’s verdict is as follows:
“The tournament has already proved to be a hugely beneficial exercise and it is good to see the players in a different environment and out of their comfort zone. The social benefits to the players in staying away from home, in a different country and away from family can be challenging in many way but it can also galvanise the players and bring the squads closer together. I think the many singalongs that we’ve heard already during the trip prove this...though some of the staff may disagree!! The games today have been good in different ways, lot’s of positive things on display and a few things to focus over the next few days. The most pleasing aspect of today was to see all the players getting minutes on the pitch and hopefully this will stand us in good stead for the games to come."