Dickman on Dutch trip

by Oscar Chamberlain

U18s coach looking forward to Holland test.

Sunderland’s under-18s will travel to Holland today as they step up their pre-season preparations.

On Saturday Elliot Dickman’s side secured a 3-1 win over Hartlepool United, but the trip to Holland will provide a very different test for the young Black Cats.

The Dutch tour will see them take on NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar, before returning to England to complete their pre-season schedule against Right to Dream.

And coach Dickman believes the trip will be an exciting experience for the youngsters, who will be looking to build momentum ahead of the new Barclays under-18 Premier League campaign.

“The trip to Holland will be a great experience for the lads, they will get to experience a range of different things from culture to playing style.

“As an Academy we have been to Holland a few times and it always provides a good footballing education, as we play against technical sides who like to pass, build from the back and play football the right way.”

The trip will not only benefit the next generation of Black Cats on the field, with Dickman hailing the positives provided off it.

“It is also about getting the lads away to an environment in which they can be together and challenge each other.

“There will be no hiding place and we will all be together for four days, we will work hard as a team and the experience will bring the squad together.”

On Tuesday a number of the under-18s featured as a Sunderland XI lost 2-0 to Grimsby Town, but despite the result Dickman was pleased with the way the young Black Cats acquitted themselves against the Conference Premier side.

“The match was very tough but it was against Grimby’s first team, the result was perhaps a little disappointing but the performance and development from the under-18s who played was invaluable.

“Speaking to them today they now understand just how tough it is to play at that level, but it was a great experience and they didn’t let down.”

He added: “They did exactly what we asked of them and you can’t ask for any more than that.”