Academy Manager Antoine Thompson hopes the club’s link-up with Benfica will continue to grow – after three young Robins successfully spent a month in an elite training camp with the Portuguese giants.
George Cuzner, Connor Jakeways and William Holland spent October in Portugal for an elite training camp, after being selected from players around the world.
The Academy has visited Benfica several times in recent years and, after an initial tour in April, the three aspiring young footballers were invited back for a once in a lifetime opportunity in Lisbon.
The trio spent a month at one of the best Academy set-ups in world football and Thompson now wants that partnership to continue to grow.
“It was a fantastic and really successful opportunity for the three boys,” he said.
“A few years ago we first went out to Portugal with the Under-18s and spoke to Benfica about players. A year later, because they liked Luke Thomas at the time, they set up a partnership with us.
“Benfica have been really impressed by the players who have gone out, which is a compliment to the club and the players we have in our system.
“Benfica has, in my opinion, one of the best Academy set-ups in the world. They base the club’s business model on producing players and then selling them on for big money.
“We want that relationship with them to grow now. They really liked one of our players this time and will be tracking him, which is great for that individual.
“We want to go out to Portugal again next season with the Academy and that process will then start again as they select more players to look closely at.
“Hopefully that means another opportunity for our young Academy players to take part in another elite training camp in the future.”