Jake Henry talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Rotherham United’s Under 11s rubbed shoulders with a host of clubs from England as well as opposition from Australia and Ireland among others as they recently took part in the Oakham School tournament.
Lead Foundation Phase Coach Jake Henry and his staff took the group of Millers youngsters to Leicestershire for a three day residential which saw them compete in the tournament which welcomed clubs from far and wide, with opposition ranging from Manchester United to Brisbane Roar
The Millers have been represented at the prestigious competition in previous years by the Under 15 and 16s age groups but Henry was delighted to expose such a young echelon of players to new experiences in the trip at the start of April.
“We've been in the previous two years with the Under 15s and Under 16s, so it's the third year that I've been personally and the third year as a club,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“It's good to have that link there because they get so many clubs from different parts of the country and from abroad and it's not too far away. It gives us a different environment, the facilities are great and we're always really well looked after by the staff that organise the tournament.
The youngsters also enjoyed the chance to face English giants Manchester United on two occasions, the second of which saw them narrowly beaten after taking an impressive early lead, but Henry continued to add that the chance for his players to pit their wits against one of the nation’s most respected Academies was a great opportunity.
“It can be quite daunting for kids of that age to play a team like Manchester United,” he explained.
“In the second game against them we were excellent. We found ourselves 3-0 up after 16 minutes, unfortunately we did end up losing the game but it's a great experience for the boys to have been in front against a team like that.”
The Academy coach finished by placing on record his thanks to the staff that accompanied him on the trip, whilst crediting the young players for their impeccable attitude during the stay.
“On the subject of staff, I'd really like to thank Carl Rathbone and Dave Atkinson, who went with me on the trip,” Jake added.
“They were excellent throughout the week and provided a lot of support for the boys and a lot of expertise in their coaching.
“The experience of the boys being away from home, away from their parents and their friends that they would normally be with during half-term saw them show real maturity and we didn't have any issues with any of them for the full week.”