"Going abroad, you get to know the lads better and get more from a four or five-day tour than six months of coaching in terms of finding out what they are like."

- Neil Harris,

Photo courtesy of Steve Hawkins

07/12/2012 14:47, Report by Adam Marshall
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Reds enjoy Ypres event

the sacrifices made all those years ago. We always make sure our players know the history of our club and in particular on this tour why they are going to visit some of these places such as Flanders Field and the Menin Gate.

"It is important to us to see how they act abroad and what they are like off the pitch because we teach them to represent the club and themselves with manners and respect and several times on the tour, representatives from the Premier League, Royal British Legion and members of the public commented on how well behaved they were for such young boys."

On the field, there was plenty of education provided in the four games against continental opposition.

"At this age the priority is not about results" explained Harris. " In Europe they play in calendar years January-to-January, so our side was a mixture of Under-11s and Under-12s from 2001 downwards and with a few of our younger players we were giving away 14 months to the opposition in terms of some of their eligible players

"It's all about development - some of the Under-12s lead by example on and off the pitch as they got the flip-side of being the older boys for a change in their age-group. The younger ones strive to be as good as the older ones and it's a challenge for all of them."

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