Solid start in Holland

by Stuart Vose

Under-18s make good start with pair of draws.

Sunderland’s under-18 side have made a solid start to their pre-season trip to Holland.

The young Black Cats left the UK last week for a training camp and kicked off their programme of games with a 1-1 draw against NEC Breda thanks to a goal from George Honeyman.

Carl Lawson found the back of the net as a clash with Roda JC ended with the same scoreline yesterday.

Coach Craig Liddle told “For the first game we were playing in NEC Breda’s main stadium, which was a fantastic experience for the players.

“We missed a lot of chances but played some really good stuff and deserved to win the game comfortably.

“The Roda game was played on an artificial surface, so it was a different type of test. We played well again and created a lot of opportunities.

“The two games were both pleasing and we’re building our fitness levels nicely ahead of the new season.”

The travelling squad has so far been blessed with excellent conditions, with temperatures hovering in the mid-20s.

“The weather has been great, the facilities are fantastic and we are being very well looked after,” Liddle added.

“The trip is particularly good for the first-years as we’ve been living in each other’s pockets.

“That helps you to get to know everyone individual and collectively and it’s been a good bonding and team-building exercise.”

The young Black Cats, who fly home on Monday, will take part in a tournament this weekend featuring shortened games.

They will face Krakow, Venlo and Genk on Saturday before taking on Feyenoord and the Chilean national team the following day.