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Under-18s

U18s head to St. George's Park

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The AFC Bourneouth youth team have travelled to St George's Park for a four-day camp that includes their first game of pre-season.

The under-18s travelled up the FA's national football centre on Wednesday and after, some tough training, will get their games programme under way with a friendly against Burnley at the centre on Saturday.

Manager Alan Connell explained the motivations behind taking his squad on the trip to Staffordshire.

"We came to St. George's Park two years ago and we found that with half of the youth team being new every year it feels like a new group when the first and second years come together," he told afcb.co.uk.

"While some of the lads may know each other this is a good chance for them to get to know each other better and we can get some real work into them, 24 hours a day almost.

"We have the game against Burnley on Saturday, but then we've also got four football sessions on the grass, three gym sessions and two hydrotherapy pool sessions, so we're cramming a lot in which is great.

"It gives us a chance to work with a new group and try to implement the things that we want.

"We're at some of the best facilities in the world. A change in scenery can be good for the players and we get through a lot of physical work, which at this time of the year the players need."

After a positive campaign in 2018/19, which included a landmark FA Youth Cup run, Connell has been satisfied with his latest group's start to pre-season.

"We've been pleased," he said. "The boys have all come back really fit, they all had their off-season programmes which pretty much follow the same structure as the first team and under-21s.

"They were guided by our sports science team and they do a great job getting our lads up to speed.

"On the football side there's always a little bit of rustiness early on so we're doing work to get the reactions we want and that sharpness, we're pleased but there's still plenty of work to do. 

"Now we're really excited to carry on that work on the training field and then start our games in what is a really exciting pre-season."

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