Striker Neil Harris has praised the Blues Madrid training base on day one of Southend United’s pre-season tour of the Spanish capital.
United have based themselves at the Ciudad del Futbol, the Spanish Football Federations national teams training complex, for the duration of their four day stay in Madrid.
And after completing a pre-Real Madrid C training workout Harris, 35, was impressed with what the whole complex has had to offer.
“The resort is fantastic and it is a real pleasure to be here because we are very lucky,” Harris told the official website.
“The location is great and we need to make sure we make the most of the few days we are here.
“I think this is a great base for Spanish football and it has played a key part in their successes.
“This is what we want St. George’s Park in Burton to be like for our national set-up.
“They bring the kids in young into this environment and offer them the best coaching possible and the team we are playing tomorrow will have more than likely come through something like this.”
On Saturday morning Paul Sturrock’s side face Real Madrid’s C team at their Ciudad Real Madrid complex.
Sturrock put his side through a training session this evening where he outlined how he wanted his side to play.
And although only a friendly Harris admitted it was an unbelievable opportunity – even for an experienced professional like himself.
“What an opportunity tomorrow is going to be,” he said. “You are playing against a Real Madrid side with great young players in some of the best facilities in the world.
“Myself and Graham Coughlan spoke about it earlier, that even after all our years in the game to play at Real Madrid’s training ground to then touring the Bernabeu on Monday – these chances don’t come around too often.
“I’ve played against foreign sides before and they approach the game a little differently to us.
“They will technically be very good on the ball and will pass it around for fun but we are here for pre-season to practice what we are good at and with Ryan Leonard’s throws and Ryan Hall’s free-kicks we might be able to show them a few surprises also.”
Kick-off at Real’s training complex is 10am CEST (9am BST) and we will be bringing updates on our twitter feed http://twitter.com/SUFCRootsHall throughout the morning.