Ciaran Toner talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
It’s not just the Rotherham United first team being put through their paces on their pre-season tour, with the Academy youngsters testing themselves in equally challenging ways whilst preparing for the new season out in Budapest.
The Millers youngsters were presented with the opportunity to pit their wits against Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town first team on Wednesday morning in a full-sided friendly training game, which left Lead Professional Development Phase Coach Ciaran Toner delighted with his side’s display and grateful to the Cod Army for the fixture.
“We'd like to say a massive thanks to them for giving us the opportunity,” he told www.themillers.co.uk.
“We spoke with them about the objectives we wanted to achieve and their [Fleetwood's] application as senior players within the game really gave us an opportunity for our lads to feel what it's like at first team level.
“They had to deal with the pace, the physicality and then the psychological aspects in terms of game and situation management.
“It's been such a great opportunity for us and the lads coped with it really, really well, so I'm delighted for them.”
Toner continued to explain that he was quick to reinforce how beneficial a fixture of this calibre can be, as the youngsters look to develop within the Academy structure at AESSEAL New York Stadium, adding that his players can take a lot from the game for a number of reasons.
“I've just had a debrief with the players and reiterated to them what a fantastic experience that will be in terms of their careers,” he added.
“We discussed the levels that they will be playing at this season and how they'll find that games like these will stand them in such good stead for what's to come through their scholarship years.
“Ultimately, they won't come up against tougher opposition. It can only be good for them when they come up against players of their own age and their own level. They still have to understand that they're striving to get into a first team, so it was fantastic.
“We've been working on a lot even though we've not been out here long and we had successes that we wanted to get out of the game and it gave us the chance to see how they could pit themselves against quality opposition.”