Oxford United's U18 and U23 sides have completed their tough week of training in Scotland, which has proved to be an invaluable experience for the youngsters.
The players were put through their paces over the five days in Largs, with four sessions on the opening day including a gruelling set of hill runs. Coaches Leon Blackmore-Such, Chris Allen and Chris Hackett were joined by familiar face Scott Shearer, who put the goalkeepers to the test in training.
It was a brilliant opportunity for first year scholars to bond with the second year and U23 groups, which set aside time for team-bonding activities, including a group dip in the freezing sea a short walk from the training complex. Who needs ice baths anyway?
The young U’s enjoyed first-class training facilities at the Inverclyde Sports Centre, with an excellent modern gym and fantastic indoor and outdoor pitches to cater for all weather conditions. The camp had an extra boost with several U23 players playing at Ibrox on Sunday – an incentive of what putting in the hard work now can lead to as an Academy player at Oxford United. The week was a great success and forms a platform to build on the success of last season.
Academy manager Dan Harris told iFollow
“It was really great, the facilities we were in. It really sets the tone for the season in terms of where we want to be as an academy with the U18s and U23s particularly. It’s really important in terms of the squad bonding point of view, Leon Blackmore-Such, Chris Hackett and Chris Allen from the coaching side of things do a great job in building that foundation for the boys.”
The tour finished with an excellent match against Motherwell’s youth side, with the young U’s coming from behind to earn a 1-1 draw in Largs. The side, made up of a mixture of U23 and U18 players playing for the first time together, put in an impressive display against their Scottish counterparts.
Leon Blackmore-Such told us after the game
“The boys were brilliant. They’ve had a tough week in terms of the physical load going into it which is fine. It’s what pre-season is about. The U23s have moved on to play at Ibrox which adds to the whole Academy which is fantastic. They’ve left us, and the other boys have stepped up and worked extremely hard. The facilities have been fantastic, so we’ve been really pleased with the camp.”
You can see a full roundup video of the pre-season camp on iFollow