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Youth Go Dutch

30 July 2012

The Cheltenham Town youth team have begun their pre-season tour of the Netherlands

The Cheltenham Town youth team are now in Holland preparing to start their League Football Edcuation tour of the Netherlands.

The young Robins were chosen alongside Oldham Athletic and Derby County and have been allocated the host club of Willem II. The pre-season tour, run by the LFE, will include four matches and a host of training sessions. The tour aims to help young players improve both on the field and off it with a number of social and cultural elements thrown in. Clubs must be invited to the tour so it's a real honour for the players. Young prospects such as Dale Reaney (pictured), Keiran Thomas and Michael Gonzalo will no doubt benefit from the experience with many buoyed by Joe Hanks' recent involvement with the first team.

The youth team will be playing the following fixtures:

- Wednesday 1 August, Cheltenham Town v. NAC Breda
- Saturday 4 August, Cheltenham Town v. Willem II
- Tuesday 7 August, Cheltenham Town v. VFL Osnabruck
- Thursday 9 AUgust, Cheltenham Town v. Oldham Athletic

The young Robins will arrive back home on the 10th August and will start preparing for their first league match against Hereford United away from home on Saturday 18 August.

The initiative, which is fully subsidised by the Leonardo Da Vinci fund for Life Long Learning, will provide plenty of opportunities for the players to sample a different football culture and to broaden their horizons both personally and professionally. As well as participating in training sessions with some of the country’s top coaches at state-of the-art facilities, the lads will also get the opportunity to meet and question former England Manager and current FC Twente boss Steve McClaren on all things football-related. The players will also take in the Dutch Super Cup Final to watch Ajax take on PSV Eindhoven for the Johan Cruyff Shield.

Dan Jolley, Projects Manager at LFE, says: “This is the fourth year we’ve been awarded funds for our ‘Leonardo Life Long Learning’ programme, which is good news on two levels. Not only is it recognition that our objectives are strongly aligned with those of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme’s  to exchange best practice between European nations, increase staff expertise and develop learners skills, but it also allows us to support young English football talent and take the work we already do as an organisation to an even greater level.

“Fifty-two of our Apprentices will be heading out to The Netherlands and we’ve no doubt that it will benefit them. Culturally it’s the chance for them to sample a different way of life while on the pitch experiencing different styles of play, coaching and tactics can only help them become better players.”

Cheltenham Town Head of Youth, Russ Milton, added: “"We have high hopes for this group of players and this is a unique opportunity which will hopefully help some of them to push on to the next level.

“We are a few weeks in to pre-season now and it [the trip] will just help to give us that bit of variety to freshen things up before the new season starts. The lads are under no illusions; the games and the training will challenge them but I’m sure they'll work hard and give it their best.”

We will bring your updates on the youth team's progress in the Netherlands plus the thoughts of Head of Youth, Russell Milton here on

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