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Monday 26 Jun 2023
Academy players put through their paces in Portugal

U16 and U15 players from the Irish FA JD Academy completed an “intense” warm weather training camp in Portugal.

Head of Irish FA JD Academy Andy Waterworth said the week-long camp in Faro featured double sessions on the training ground each day as well as some behind-closed-doors friendlies.

He explained: “The idea was to get them away and show them what life is like as a full-time footballer.

“In our player development programme we try to expose the players to an elite environment and that’s exactly what we did in Portugal.”

He said the trip enabled backroom staff at the Irish FA’s full-time residential academy at Ulster University Jordanstown to not only provide "intense training" but also to discuss tactical elements of the game, player welfare and fitness programmes.

One of the training matches was against Portuguese opposition who were much older than the academy players, however the boys from Northern Ireland produced an excellent performance as they registered a 1-1 draw.

On the final day of the camp the players got to meet Liverpool and England midfielder Jordan Henderson, who was in Faro maintaining his fitness ahead of the new season.

Image: Some of the Irish FA JD Academy players with Liverpool and England midfielder Jordan Henderson.