Craig Fleming says that Southampton’s Under-18s will reap the benefits both on and off the pitch as they are set to take part in a two-week long training camp in Italy.
Fleming’s group will fly out to Rome over the weekend as they prepare for the next stage of development in pre-season.
“It’s fantastic to go away and we’ll have three games out there and just short of two weeks at a training camp with a pitch on-site,” he explained to youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“It will be a great trip to get the boys away and it’s good for those guys as well to get away and into fresh surroundings and get a bit of intense work into them.
“It’s a long season, it’s going to be a tough season, so I think to get a bit of team spirit and, like I say, to get that intense work into them is a great opportunity.”
Complete with the new intake of scholars, the youngsters have been together for a few weeks, but the trip away gives them a chance to get to know each other a little better in a different environment.
“A lot of the boys have been around the building for years in the new batch that have come through and we’ve got four or five new guys that have come in and have fitted in really well. They’re a great bunch to work with,” said Fleming.
“There will be education slots as well in the afternoons as well which is important, and possibly a few Italian lessons which I think a few of them might struggle with, myself included! But we’re all thoroughly looking forward to it.”
They will also play a handful of matches to follow on from their opening game of pre-season which saw them beat Yeovil Town’s Under-18s 4-0, and Fleming is pleased with the progress made so far.
“It’s been going very well,” said the Under-18s manager.
“We have more numbers this year which is good to work with, even with the boys that have been pushed up into the Under-21s we’ve had good working groups, and it’s gone well.
“We played 90 minutes but split it up into two 45s with two teams in each half and it went very well. We escaped injury-free which is always important in pre-season and the boys looked quite sharp, we kept a clean sheet which is always nice, and scored four so there were lots of pleasing points in there.
“It’s a gradual process for the young boys and it’s a bit of a balancing act because we can’t push them too hard, too soon, as they’re not used to full-time football because they’ve come from schools. It’s just getting the right amount of work into them without overdoing it or underdoing it, and not picking up any injuries.”