Blues' youth team coach on the 4-0 win against Oxford United...
Southend United’s youth team coach Dave Huzzey paid tribute to the squad after watching them beat Oxford United 4-0 in their second pre-season friendly at Boots & Laces on Saturday.
“I said after the game last week that I was pleased, and I was in some ways, but I’m delighted with this excellent performance from the boys,” he declared after goals from Daniel Matsuzaka, Norman Wabo, Harry Norman and Harry Phillips earned a comprehensive victory.
“They did everything we asked of them, they expressed themselves and scored the goals that they deserved. We didn’t concede and looked solid at the back, so it was definitely a step up in class from us today.”
Such was the level of competency that Blues displayed that it seemed they had been in training longer than their opponents, but Huzzey revealed that the reserve was true: “They’ve been back longer than us. They’re a really good side, but we turned up today. It was a really good performance, and even though it’s only two games in, we’re really happy with how the boys have done.”
“We were really organised, which is surprising because it was only our second game. It shows that the eight or nine boys who have been here since U9s are not getting used to us, because they know us, they’re not getting used to the facilities because they know the facilities and they’re not getting used to the style we play because they know that having played it for almost ten years.”
“The boys that have come in a bit later have had to adapt quicker, but they’ve not just had me and Rick [Duncan, Academy Manager] telling them, they’ve had all the players telling them as well. That’s something we’ve been really pleased with and the organisation, both in the first half and the second half, was excellent,” he continued.
Blues took the lead in the tenth minute when centre-back Matsuzaka netted, and Huzzey felt that it was a perfect start: “We started the game really brightly - in the first ten minutes we were excellent - and then we did well to get the goal. That took the nerves out of it a little bit. We wanted to make sure that we didn’t start to panic in front of goal and, even though it was a bit scrappy, big Dan did well to finish it, and that set the standard. Then we could relax and play our game.”
Wabo grabbed the second in the 36th minute, and the coach believed that the goal showcased the talent within the first-year scholar: “Norman did really well. Sometimes you wonder if he’s taking it all in when you talk to him, but he obviously is because today he proved that he has been listening and working hard.”
“He hasn’t been in the system for too long - I think it’s maybe two years and with our boys we like to keep them with us from 9-years-old - so he came in quite late, but he had a massive impact up front. He used his pace and his body strength really well. At times he’s a bit rushed in front of goal, but he has got an instinct as you could see from his finish today.”
The result was secured two minutes before the break when Harry Norman headed the third, and Huzzey thinks goals will provide an important additional facet to the midfielder’s game: “He’s a holding midfield player, and he does the defensive side really well, but we worked loads with him last year on passing the ball forwards and joining the attacking play. Although he didn’t score many last season, he played a massive part in the team and if he can add goals to his game this year, he’ll be brilliant.”
Although Huzzey confirmed that winning did not exact revenge for last season’s FA Youth up Second Round defeat, he was happy to see Blues prove how good they are ahead of their next friendly at Boots & Laces next weekend: “It was interesting that their manager made a comment about The FA Youth Cup that he was worried about how good we were, but we didn’t turn up on that night. Today showed that we have got the quality.”
“There wasn’t as much pressure on us today, and that’s something we’ll have to deal with next time The FA Youth Cup comes around, how we deal with that pressure differently. I think next week will be a different sort of game to this one, but we’ll have to be organised because we won’t know what to expect.”
“Mark Beard used to run the Crawley set-up, and when that got closed, he started up his own Academy. They’ll be a strong side. It’s good to play against Academies that aren’t linked to professional clubs because it’s the same sort of experience that you get when you play against non-League sides in The FA Youth Cup. It’s good for us and hopefully we can take the positives from this match into the next game."