Talented footballers Ben Sawyers and Jamie Talbot trained like Premier League stars in a dream day with coaches from Manchester City.
The Academy 360 students were put through their paces by coaches from the runaway league leaders at a football school at Glasgow Green Football Centre, part of a packed day gaining a privileged insight into the world of some of the sport’s biggest stars.
Intensive four and eight-a-side games, fitness and skills testing, lessons on nutrition to maximise their physical ability and comparing their technique to the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne were all part of a fantastic day for the Sunderland boys.
Their training matched the template used by Manchester City in their march to stand on the verge of winning this season’s Premier League crown.
Jamie and Ben played with and against some of the top young footballers in Scotland and Northern England.
The event hosted by Inspire Sport aims to give girls and boys the opportunity to work with top coaches from some of the world’s leading clubs. As well as Manchester City, Inspire Sport work with teams including Real Madrid, Valencia and Benfica, arranging trips for schools to live and train like stars at venues few are lucky enough to visit.
Academy 360 teacher Dan McKay accompanied Jamie and Ben to Glasgow – the boys being selected for the Manchester City Football School as two of the most talented footballers at Academy 360.
Dan was among a host of school teachers given an insight by Manchester City coaches into the techniques they employ to bring out the best in the younger squads and first team at the league champions elect.
Right-back Ben said: “The standard of the players on the day was really good. It let me see how good you need to be to be a professional player.
“I still want to be a professional footballer and know now what the top players do to get there.”
Jamie, who bagged three goals on the day as a centre-forward, said: “I’m used to playing against good young players at Sunderland’s academy but the standard today was great.
“The Man City coaches were great, we all learned a lot from them.”
Dan, a former semi-professional rugby union player, knows about the sacrifices and dedication needed to reach the top.
“The boys trained with some of the best young players in Scotland and got to put their skills into practice in some highly competitive matches,” said Dan.
“They’ve trained with the Manchester City academy staff who are some of the best coaches in the world.
“They had a number of sessions looking at nutrition, looking at video of some of the first team Manchester City players and comparing their positional play to the top professionals.
“The boys will take a lot from this and be able to put what they have learned into their own football development.”
Jamie and Ben were awarded certificates from the Manchester City coaches for their attitude and application on the day.