Youth Team Coach Dave Huzzey enthused by trip to Spain...
By Robert Craven
Southend United’s Youth Team Coach Dave Huzzey believes that the experience and information he gained during a week in Madrid with the EFL’s League Football Education scheme will benefit the club’s Academy.
Huzzey travelled to Spain with three counterparts in the shape of Burton Albion’s Sam Rose, Ipswich Town’s Chris Hogg and Portsmouth’s Mikey Harris during half-term, missing the 2-1 defeat to Stevenage that kicked off Southend’s EFL Youth Alliance Merit League One campaign in the process, but he has returned to south-east Essex enthused about the trip.
“The LFE took four youth team coaches out to Madrid; myself from Southend, Sam from Burton, Chris Hogg from Ipswich and Mikey from Portsmouth, and it was one of the best footballing experiences I’ve ever had from a coaching perspective,” Huzzey declared.
“We spent a day at Real Madrid, a day at Atletico Madrid, a day at Real Vallacano, and one at Getafe. We went to all the different clubs. I went to the Real Madrid first-team game on the Sunday and to the Napoli game in the Champions League on the Wednesday, so I got to see everything from U15s to the first-team, including different training sessions and it was a really good experience, and really worthwhile.”
“I’m feeding stuff back to the coaches here, and I love talking about it because it was such a good experience. The Football League chose four candidates to go out to Madrid; everyone had to apply, and they chose four. Luckily for me, I was one of those chosen,” he explained.
And, as Huzzey seeks to use the information that he gleaned in Spain to assist Blues in their Academy development, he also revealed that Southend United may not have as much ground to make up on some of the continent’s biggest club sides as you would imagine.
“When we were out there, I watched so much football,” he revealed. “I watched Guti take Real Madrid’s U19s in a training session and in a game, and I watched so many different sessions and different types of session, so it gave me loads to think about and it showed how they focus so much on possession-based training compared to England.”
“There was a little bit more on structure, too, and it’s something that I definitely want to bring back and implement into our Academy and what we do here. But it did show me how far we have come as a group, and as an Academy, because we’re not a million miles off some of the big-hitters in Spain in terms of what they do in their Academies and in their philosophies.”
“When I got a chance to explain what we do here at Southend, they were really surprised, especially the Atletico Academy Manager. He was surprised because there is a lot of similar stuff, and that’s something I’ve said to the boys: it’s not rocket science, but what the top clubs in Spain are doing is not dissimilar to what we’re trying to implement here.”
Huzzey was not the only member of the Academy to spend time away from the Thames estuary. On Friday 16th February, goalkeeper Harry Seaden lined up for England U16s against Spain in front of over 2,000 spectators at Leek Town FC, whilst young shotstopper, Dan Confrey, travelled to Brittany with Wales U15s.
The coach was full of praise for the pair, as well as the club’s coaches: “It’s always good for the boys to play for your nation, so to have Dan Confrey going away with Wales, and Harry Seaden again going away with England and playing against Spain are massively good experiences for them, as mine was in Madrid!” he said.
“They’ve come back with loads of stories and different experiences that will help them in our games programme, and again it’s testament to Terry Mason, to Paul Smith, to Reece Otley, to Lee Harrison and to all the goalkeeping coaches that have worked with them through the years.”
“It’s not just Harry and Dan, either; Callum Taylor has played for Northern Ireland U15s and Ted Smith has played at various age groups for England, so it’s something that we are really pleased with at the club and proud of. As well as good goalkeepers, we are producing some really good footballers, but more than anything, we’re producing really good people.”