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Under-18s

Lallana and Ritchie on call for U18s

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Adam Lallana and Matt Ritchie are among the professional players that the under-18s squad have been able to converse with and help aid their development even during lockdown.

Manager Alan Connell was able to make the most of the two former Cherries by introducing them to his current youth team squad via online Zoom chats.

Talking to the Premier League duo has formed part of the side’s forward progression even with usual training as a group currently not permitted.

Connell caught up with afcb.co.uk to talk about using the lockdown time as well as possible, with the squad’s season being brought to an end earlier this month.

A PREMATURE ENDING

The day we found out about the season stopping was a strange day because we were just waiting for that confirmation, then letting the boys know to the best of my ability.

It was difficult because initially we told them to go home for a week, knowing that with what was going on in Italy it was likely to go on a lot longer than that.

After the announcement, the squad took footballs home and we’ve been in constant touch with them.
They’ve had their individual physical programmes, we’ve been making sure they’re progressing with that, doing their running and receiving videos from them.

KEEPING FIT THROUGH ONLINE SUPPORT

They boys have been doing Zoom calls with Ben Bradley, our head of sports science, doing all their strength and conditioning work, and on Friday mornings they’ve been doing Pilates with our physio Jess Murray Fisher.

We’ve also been doing analysis sessions with them. I’ve been looking at games along with Hugo our analyst, picking the bones out of certain games.

Some of them have been Bournemouth games but we’ve also been looking at some Liverpool and Manchester City games, looking at how they do things both in and out of possession.

We’ve done that because we do loads of work on ourselves but I wanted to give the boys, especially in this current climate, a look at how different teams play and how the best two teams in the country at the moment do it.

That was really interesting and I hope the boys enjoyed that, we tried to make it as interactive as we could – which can be difficult when you have 35 people on a Zoom call!

LALLANA DROPS ONLINE FOR A CHAT

We’ve then gone on to do Q & As with different people, for the Liverpool analysis I contacted Adam Lallana and he was really happy to help out, he spoke really well to our players.

He’s obviously a local boy and it was nice to talk about the Liverpool tactical work to follow up on what we’d been talking about and that linked things really nicely for our players.

He also gave an interesting insight into his development at a young age and his experiences both domestically and internationally.

RITCHIE AND McQUOID ADD THEIR EXPERIENCE

We’ve also spoken on a Zoom call with Matt Ritchie about his time at the club and his time coming through an academy, having setbacks but making it to the Premier League. He gave us his time and gave the boys a really interesting insight into his loans at an early age and playing in all four divisions, and playing under Eddie Howe as well.

Then we spoke with Josh McQuoid who came through the youth system at Bournemouth, talking about all his different experiences in football.

Hopefully the boys have taken lots of good messages from these players, it’s been enjoyable for me and more importantly for the players who have been able to ask them the questions they wanted to, it’s been really worthwhile.

SETTING CHALLENGES

We’ve given the boys technical challenges to do and they’ve been sending videos to us, trying to use the time and the equipment they have available to them as best as they can.

We have done Q & As with the boys themselves as well, I wanted them to reflect on what they’ve done.

We’re in a world where we’re always looking forwards and sometimes don’t have time to reflect, so I wanted the boys to do that and look at their own answers and for the new scholars who are about to start with us in pre-season and listen to the experiences of stepping into full-time football.

BRINGING THE SEASON TO A CLOSE

Last week we had our end-of-season meetings with all the first- and second-year players. They were long days but beneficial for the players to know where they are, and good to hear the feedback for the ones who are moving forwards.

We then wrapped the season up with an end-of-season quiz. We posed some factual football questions about the season and then some questions and some that were more light-hearted about things that happened off the pitch.

That brought us to the end of the season, another year gone by with the process hopefully starting again once it’s safe to do so.

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