Rotherham United’s Academy Under 15’s ran a strong Liverpool team all the way under the lights of the AESSEAL New York Stadium on Tuesday Night.
The young Millers side slipped to a late 3-2 defeat, conceding from a free kick with only two minutes remaining after twice levelling the score.
The Academy side acquitted themselves excellently against the ‘Category A’ team whose side boasted international players from England, Wales, Germany and Norway.
“It was a great game, played in fantastic spirit and the evening was all about the experience for the players,” Academy Manager Garreth Barker told www.themillers.co.uk
“We have a small Under 15’s squad with some Under 14’s playing too and they competed very well.
“The performance was particularly pleasing because they brought their strongest squad from that Academy age group, which incorporated numerous international players.”
The Reds enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, controlling possession for large portions of the opening 20 minutes and Barker explained his youngsters have to learn how to manage games against strong opposition and hone their skills without the ball.
“The first 15-20 minutes I don’t think we saw the ball to be honest. The lads have got to manage the game when they are out of possession for long periods,” added Barker
“Can they manage without the ball? Can they maintain a good shape? Can they be disciplined and not get dragged out of position?”
The youngsters, who performed admirably against top flight opposition, got to experience playing on the AESSEAL New York Stadium surface and follow in the first team’s footsteps and Barker admits it was a hugely beneficial night for the Academy players.
“We are lucky because the Chairman and the commercial department allow the Academy to play these sorts of games at the end of the season.
“It was a worthwhile experience not just in footballing terms but in the bigger picture of their football education."