Young guns go Dutch

Lewis Gill. Picture: Paul Jacobs (133060-2)
Lewis Gill. Picture: Paul Jacobs (133060-2)
Derry City winger Ronan Curtis

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Pompey Academy’s Dutch experience has been hailed as an education for the club’s emerging talent.

Mikey Harris’ under-18 side have been touring Holland after being chosen by League Football Education (LFE) to take part in their Leonardo Da Vinci Mobility Programme.

And that will today see them play their third match of the trip against NEC Nijmegen.

The Academy’s slimline squad lost 3-0 last week to FC Twente’s under-19 set-up.

But they followed that up with a 2-1 success over Vitesse Arnhem on Saturday,

Conor Chaplin’s penalty and Lewis Gill’s fine 25-yard effort turned an early deficit on its head in that game.

As well as that, there have been sessions with Dutch coaches and a tour of the Amsterdam ArenA before watching Pec Zwolle beat Ajax to win the Dutch Super Cup.

The club have also used the same facilities as Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon and Chelsea.

That paved the way for meetings with the likes of Jose Mourinho as well as John Terry, Didier Drogba and Willian.

There is also a round-robin tournament with Birmingham, Bradford and Sheffield United to come on Friday.

Despite having a squad of just 15 players carrying injuries and central defender Dory Yates returning from a broken leg, Alan Knight feels they have performed decently.

The club ambassador has joined the coaching staff on the trip and has seen what a useful visit it’s been.

Knight said: ‘It’s been good for the kids and they’ve enjoyed it.

‘It’s run by the LFE. We’ve trained well, the coaches have been good and the sessions have been hard.

‘The FC Twente game was hard and we took time to adjust.

‘We have a small squad and they changed their team but they acquitted themselves well in the second half.

‘Then there was a good win among a lot of other stuff which has been going on. It’s gone well.’