The morning began with a recovery session, led by sport scientist Jeremy Poulson, incorporating a spin, stretch and pool session to help the recovery process from the intense match.
After this, the players had plenty of down time to rest before congregating at 12pm for lunch. Once everyone had eaten it was time for the first activity of the day as the group made a 45-minute coach journey to Valkenswaard, which was the starting point for a canoeing team-building exercise
The group set off in pairs for a gentle two-hour paddle along a very scenic route. Several boats capsized plunging both players and staff into the cold water. However, everyone managed to complete the challenge, despite the hot weather conditions, the constant threat of being bitten by flies and returning with some being wetter than others.
The lads then returned to the Carlton Hotel in Mierlo for a brief freshen-up and a bite to eat before the second team activity of the day. This one didn’t involve water, which some were thankful for!
The trip was to watch PSV Eindhoven play against Austrian Second Division side against St Polten in a UEFA Europa League qualifying tie. The game at the Philips Stadion lacked pace and intent but in the 56th minute the deadlock was finally broken by Luuk De Jong’s header for the hosts which secured a narrow first leg advantage for PSV.
After the game, the Blues players returned to Mierlo and preparations have now started to focus on Saturday’s game against PSV Eindhoven U19s.
Blues U18 captain Dom Bernard commented: “The fourth day was more settled around the hotel as we had a light recovery session which involved spin, stretch and swimming. This was much-needed as tomorrow we have an important training session which will involve tactics for Saturday’s game against PSV.
“After the recovery we then headed of canoeing, this was great for us as we had time to have a bit of laugh and team bonding, but we ended up being covered in bites from the flies swarming the lake! It was a good end to the day as we went to watch PSV. The atmosphere was amazing and the difference to English to football is very clear. It was great to see the way they played and their philosophy of football. I feel as though I’ve learned a lot from the game.”
You can keep track of Blues U18s’ pre-season exploits by following them on Twitter @bcfcacademy, where you’ll find all the latest news and pictures of the tour. Also @LFEonline are following the tour of all four English clubs over in Holland –Sheffield United, Bradford City and Portsmouth, as well as Blues.
To read Jeremy's review of day one, click here.
To read Jeremy's review of day two, click here.
To read Jeremy's review of day three, including a report of the team's win over Willem II, click here.