The Oldham Athletic youth team recently enjoyed a pre-season trip to Portugal, funded by the Erasmus+ programme.
Tony Philliskirk’s youngsters were put through their paces in the blistering Portugal heat in preparation for the new season.
Speaking about the trip, Philliskirk said: “It was outstanding. The integration from the group, from the nine apprentices to the second year group, was great. The lads got on so well and to go to a facility like Browns in Portugal was great for them.
"The pitches, weather and facilities were outstanding and the service staff were first class. It was really tough for the lads, though. We had to manage them carefully because of the heat and the fact that the first year group have gone from part time training to full time training.
"We played against York City and Olhanense, from Portugal, and managed to come away with a trophy so it was good to get the lads into the winning habit straight away. The trip could have not gone any better and it makes all the hard work planning worth it.”
Whilst the lads were put through a gruelling training regime, the trip allowed them to get to know their teammates better and also for the coaches to get to know the players as well.
"It’s been interesting for us as coaches as you get to know a lot about their personalities. You can see who are the leaders and which people take control.
"Also you could see who kept their apartments clean, having respect for staff there so it was a fantastic trip not just for the football wise but how the lads were.
"We had two or three lads who we took from other clubs at the end of last season and it’s the first time they have got to know the group.
“After two or three days they were still a little bit quiet but after eight or nine days you can see them coming out of their shells and by the end of the trip they’re all big buddies with their teammates so it’s been good to watch."