Dean Whitehead reviews Town’s Under-19 games in Spain
- Dean Whitehead on U19 games against Real Betis and Sevilla
- U19 Coach praises the Academy’s bespoke games programme
- Town's U17s in action against Bradford City at PPG Canalside on Saturday 9 February
Huddersfield Town’s Under-19 Coach Dean Whitehead has defined the trip to Spain as priceless.
Deano led the Young Terriers for the training camp as they faced similar aged top-sides Real Betis and Sevilla.
These games were part of the Academy’s bespoke games programme, which aims to provide the youngsters with a number of different tests against a variety of opposition.
Dean Whitehead explained that the benefits of the programme were evident in the Under-19s’ latest two games.
“It’s interesting when you play these sorts of teams because the physicality of our bespoke games programme really shines through more than anything.
“All the Spanish teams are technically very good, but we felt the benefit from against playing against men and league sides because we overpowered them in that sense.
“They had a lot of possession in the first half (against Sevilla) and we weren’t great on the ball.
“We tweaked it a little bit at half-time and after that they couldn’t break through us and our transition.
“We were good, quick, fast, running forward and playing forward as well as scoring two good goals. These challenges for the boys are just priceless.
“I think this trip has been invaluable to them and everybody; it shows exactly how our games programme is working.
“Although we lose games to older teams or men’s sides, when we drop into our own age group we are physically stronger, more powerful and quicker.
“It’s great for the lads to then see how it’s benefitting them in these kinds of games, against top teams from a similar age group.”
After doing research on the Spanish side, Dean Whitehead and his coaching team provided the Young Terriers with a game plan, putting different things they worked on in training into practice.
“We understood they’d have a lot of the ball, so we knew we had to be disciplined, stay tight together and limit the gaps.
“Defensively, in the first half, we were really good, had a great shape and good organisation. In the second half we overpowered them a bit more.”
Winger Aaron Rowe grabbed a brace during the 2-0 win over Sevilla and Dean Whitehead explained how his advice to the youngster helped him adapt to certain situations.
“Aaron had a bit of a sticky start, they were trying to kick him and get under his skin, but he took that in his stride.
“He ended up scoring two great goals, was always a threat in transition and received the ball between the lines before driving forwards.
“We said to him at half-time ‘look, do you know why they’re kicking you? They’re kicking you because you’re a good player, they realise that and you’re a threat to them, so keep doing it.’ Eventually he wore them down and ripped them apart to be honest.”
A number of Town’s Under-17s also travelled and played for Deano’s side and he went into detail about how that experience will benefit them.
“Going away together gave the lads another learning experience. The older lads, the likes of Rarmani (Edmonds-Green), really looked after the young boys and made them feel at home.
“There were five or six Under-17s with us. For them, it may have been there first or second trip with the Under-19s. They could see how to behave, act, train, play and prepare on camps like these; it’s invaluable.
“It’s an experience they will want again and again. Alongside that they all had minutes against good, older opposition. It’s a great experience for the young lads.”
Town's Under-17s are in Youth Alliance action on Saturday (9 February 2019) at PPG Canalside!
Town supporters can watch the game against Bradford City, which kicks off at 11am, for FREE as it takes place on the pitches over the canal.
Follow more news on the Town Academy on Twitter @htafcAcademy.