ELITE Development Squad Head Coach Glyn Hodges believes the upcoming tour of Switzerland will prove to be a good experience for his young group of players.
The Under-19s fly out to Altstatten on Thursday morning before taking to the field on Friday and Saturday in the hope of returning to the Potteries in triumphant mood.
Speaking to stokecityfc.com before the team set off from Manchester Airport, the 50-year-old revealed the nature of playing three 40-minute games in one day will be different to what his squad normally have to deal with.
“It will be slightly different to what we are used to, but we’ve worked hard to put scenarios in the players’ minds about being a goal up or a goal down and understanding how to win games with less time on the clock,” Hodges said.
“There are three games of 20 minutes each way on the opening day so that’s 120 minutes, but it won’t be like playing an extra time game because the players will be really exerting themselves in each match, which is something different to what they would usually experience.
“The games will be fast paced and 100mph so part of it will be about fitness and how quickly the lads can recover in between matches."
The former Wales international, who has taken similar age groups to international competitions with his previous clubs, added that due to the nature of the tournament his players have practised penalties.
“When you think that the games are only 20 minutes each way then they could easily end up in stalemate” he said.
“We’ve practiced taking penalties because it’s something we don’t do with the lads everyday so by practicing them it allows the lads to feel a bit more comfortable if called upon during the tournament.”
Hodges says the aim is very much to follow in the footsteps of the Under-17s who were crowned Generation Adidas Cup Champions earlier this year and showcase the Club’s young talent on an international stage.
“We are going out there to win it which is why we are practicing and covering every aspect possible so all being well we will achieve our desired outcome,” added Hodges.
“It’s also about getting Stoke City’s name out there by getting a reputation and being invited back to these sorts of tournaments in the future, and if not, then even better ones.”