The Matlock Town Academy are set to make further waves on the international stage having been chosen to represent England at the Shanghai International Tournament.
To consolidate the academy’s international achievements such as their Holland Cup exploits and last week’s announcement of a pre-season training camp with Gibraltar’s Manchester 62 FC, the tournament held in China offers as further overseas involvement.
“It’s a truly unbelievable achievement for a non-league academy to be selected to represent England at the most prestigious international club youth tournament in the world,” explained Town development manager Justin Tellus.
“We go with no fear and the belief in our football ability both from a technical and, more importantly, tactical perspective.”
With the academy’s Under-17s chosen to represent England ahead of an undisclosed side from the Premier League and one from the Championship, Town’s youngsters will travel to the tournament on 6th July.
With the squad travelling to China early for two days of preparation prior to the opening day of the tournament, the seven-day competition’s kick-off is on 8th July.
Aside from England, 11 countries will be represented in Shanghai during the prestigious international title, with professional clubs form Mexico, Russia, Belgium, France, Australia, Ivory Coast, Slovakia, Romania, China and the USA all in attendance.
The tournament will provide a huge stage for the Under-17 Young Gladiators, with group stage games recording attendances of 5,000-6,000 and over 20,000 at the final.
Major sponsors from China have covered all the costs for the Young Gladiators and the main sponsor for the side in the tournament will be UK Boarding Schools Admission Services (UKBS).
The tournament will be without doubt a great experience for the youngsters who have already pitted their wits against sides from across Europe.
This competition will offer as a further test for the Young Gladiators as they will face sides from right across the world, however, it is one that Tellus is relishing.
“The challenge is huge and we know that the professional sides from different parts of the world will come with strength, flair and movement that will be new to our lads.”
Tellus continued: “That’s what the challenge is all about though and the experience on and off the pitch that will be gained will be priceless to their development as a player.
“We will aim to make our club and country proud and set a precedent for all non-League academies across the UK to believe in achieving when working within limitations at our level.”
Last season’s Under-17s top scorer, Ethan Knowles, will captain the squad out in China, ahead of his pre-season trial with two undisclosed, professional Southern European teams.
The remainder of the squad will be announced on Monday on the academy’s Facebook page, Matlock Town FC – Academy.