Young football stars get insight into playing in a Sunderland vs Newcastle derby

Martin Scott leads a training session.
Martin Scott leads a training session.
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Potential professional players will be given an insight into what it’s like to compete in an away fixture in their own Wear-Tyne derby.

More than 60 youngsters – most from the Kepier Elite Academy in Houghton – will travel to Slaley Hall hotel in Northumberland to play against Newcastle United’s academy.

Being a professional footballer is all about the training and the games but there are loads of other aspects involved too and one of the big ones is travelling to away games.

Martin Scott

The idea is to replicate the experience professionals have when they stay away ahead of a match, with under-12s and 13s to play on Saturday and under 14s and 15s on Sunday.

The weekend is the idea of ex-Sunderland defender Martin Scott, who runs the Improtech Soccer scheme.

He said: “Being a professional footballer is all about the training and the games, but there are loads of other aspects involved too and one of the big ones is travelling to away games.

“It is a big moment, often a very intimidating one, when young players travel away with the first team for the first time.

“The England football team has been based at Slaley before when they have visited the North East, so it has ideal facilities for us to train and play.

“The young players will be shown the same discipline and expectations that is required of professionals when they are away, and in between there will be training sessions and games.

“It will be a packed weekend for the boys because as well as the training and the games, there’s the away experience, and various talks and advice on things like nutrition and strength training.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a help in all these young lads development – although I expect it will be the games against Newcastle they are looking forward to the most.”