There is a familiar face back at Oxford United this week with Ryan Clarke making a welcome return to the club.
Ryan made close to 250 appearances for the U’s from 2009 to 2015, including that dramatic play-off win against York at Wembley in 2010.
Having just signed for Bath City the Bristolian has been invited to help out with the keepers on the Under 23s side’s trip to the GB High Performance Centre in Lilleshall, Shropshire
Goalkeeping Coach Wayne Brown said:
“It’s great to have Clarkey around again. Everyone knows what a top man he is and while I am in Ireland with the first team we asked if he fancied passing on his experience to the young keepers. He will be great for them and it’s nice to have him around again. We both learned so much from Alan Hodgkinson at Oxford and it’s nice to try and carry that on by working with the talented young keepers we have here.”
After 2 days of testing and training alongside the 1st team, the young 23s squad are now putting in a series of double sessions at a venue that has been home to some of Britain’s top Olympians.
Academy Manager Dan Harris said “Bringing our young pro’s to a place where they can train alongside elite athletes from other sports allows them to see first hand the sacrifice that is required to make it to the top of any elite sport. We are also rubbing shoulders with wounded servicemen and women who are based here which is a powerful reminder of how fortunate our young players are to be in the position they’re in - it’s a real privilege to be spending a week in a high performance environment of this type.”
Under 23s coach Chris Allen was equally positive about the trip:
“Being here really allows us to get some heavy work in and means we can mirror what the first team are doing in Ireland - we want our players to be ready for the demands of a tough season and this week of work will lay the foundation for that - there’s no substitute for doing the hard yards.”
The young yellows will spend a week in Shropshire before returning to Oxford for a series of pre-season fixtures.