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A Blog From Spain

Frankie gives us the lowdown from the U18s camp

8 August 2017

Colchester United's U18s are now into the second half of their twelve day trip to Spain with Erasmus.

Tuesday morning saw them run out 2-1 winners over Cordoba in their latest friendly but, prior to the game, defender Frankie Stone took time to update us with the latest from the camp.

It's day six of the Colchester United football tour of Seville. Today was quite a relaxed day for the players, consisting of a light session at 10am in the morning and many hours of free time afterwards in the afternoon before the first game of the tour on Saturday morning.

Within the training we had many finishing competitions in partners, where we saw the likes of Alex Pacey's ridiculous overhead kicks, Callum Anderson's poor serves and Jack Madley's ball flying into orbit. The session lasted for at least an hour and a half and it ended with many nominations for tonight's vote of 'The Worst Trainer'. These included Callum Anderson, Reuben Mudd, George Phillips, Cabhan Clark and Shakeem Ferlisi.

At 1pm, all the players and staff met in the dining room to have some lunch which consisted of chicken on skewers, potatoes, vegetables, rice, and much more. I believe the food has been nice so far, however I wish there was at times more selection or different styles of food as it is beginning to become repetitive.

In the afternoon, the players just relaxed and rested around the pool with the temperature ranging from 38-41 degrees. The boys wanted to top up their tans as well as diving into the pool to cool off and chill. Many players also brought their head phones to listen to their own music due to the lack of music and entertainment around the pool.

Many of the boys went to the shop later on in the evening to experience the surroundings around the hotel and also to collect some snacks and drinks to stay hydrated and to be able to prepare for our first game of the tour tomorrow morning.

At 9pm, everyone met in the dining room to have some dinner and the votes for the worst trainer were also collected. At 10pm, the boys and coaches gathered around the pool to announce the worst trainer of the day and I had to push the player into the pool. The winner was our keeper George Phillips who was voted 8 times closely followed by Reuben and Cav with 6, Callum with 4 and Shak with 0. Now it was time to rest and sleep for the coming day!

Matchday: AD Nervion v Colchester United! The boys gathered at breakfast at 8:15am and shortly after collected their belongings for the game and began to travel to the game at 9am. Once arriving at the ground, everyone settled and began to get ready for the game where we learnt that the starting line-up would be:

George P (GK)

Kieran (RB) Ollie K (CB) Kyle (CB) Frankie (LB)

Rob H (CM) Callum A (CM)

Noah C (CAM)

Dean A (RW) Ollie S (LW)

Callum J (ST)

Bench: Shakeem F, Reuben M, George K, Cav C, Jack M, Max M

Within 20 seconds of the first whistle the U's went 1-0 down! Then, from the restart, we lost possession, they went over the top and their striker lobbed George only for us to see the ball hit the bar, bounce on the line and out! What a relief! We could have been 2-0 down in a minute, surely something no-one has ever seen before.

Our manager Liam said we looked like we were still back in England, let alone still on the bus!

We then began to become more confident on the ball as the first half progressed keeping the ball more and making good scoring opportunities. In the 18th minute Dean Ager scored a low driven shot underneath the goal keeper after the goalie had made a mistake.

Around 20 minutes in, the ref allowed all players to have a drinks break and substitutions from both teams were made. Shakeem Ferlisi replaced me, Reuben Mudd replaced Callum Jones, Jack Madley replaced Kyle Jopling, Max Maughn replaced Noah Chilvers, George Keys replaced Kieran Michaels.

After the break Colchester started to have more possession of the ball and began to control the game. However due to Nervion changing tactics and dropping off very deep - when they had been pressing us really hard high up the pitch - hardly any chances were made. After the end of the first half the score was 1-1.

Before the start of the second half, more substitutions including me coming back on for Shak, Cav Clarke came on in goal, Kieran came on for Ollie Kensdale, Callum Jones for Ollie Sims, and Noah for Callum Anderson. Early into the second half Colchester dominated using the width of the pitch and switching the play quickly to move the opposition to play forwards.

Nervion also made a selection of substitutions however none of which made a huge impact on the game. After another 20 minutes we had another drinks break to ensure the players maintain hydrated and able to play in the extreme heat which reached 40 degrees.

A variety of substitutions were made once again from Colchester and the decision to keep Noah on the pitch was vital as he scored the winner in the 70th minute after beating two players with a drop of the shoulder and smashing it into the top corner with the help of the keeper, who couldn't stop the shot. The rest of the game quickly passed with Colchester completely in control and cruising to victory.

After the game players from both teams respectfully shook hands and intermingled to have a photo. We headed back to the hotel to have lunch and get ready for a rewarding afternoon at the beach. The beach was completely packed once both us and Huddersfield U18s - who are also on the LFE trip and sharing our hotel - arrived and it was a struggle to find a spot to relax.

Once we did we managed to have a great time playing football on the beach, going in the sea and enjoying the heat. Many left with red faces! Everyone was drained from the long tiring day.

After a long coach journey back to the hotel, everyone had dinner at around 9:30pm. As well as the buffet the players were allowed dessert as a treat due to winning the game today. Many enjoyed the ice cream and cakes and we also saw one member of staff have three plates of dessert (you know who you are, Lewis Coldham!)

At 10:30pm, me and many others began to relax and wind down for the day and chill, however others enjoyed their time out in Seville exploring the city. Only six more days and two more games left. Hopefully the U's can keep their unbeaten streak of six pre-season games in a row.

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