Academy. Chris wanting Moore silverware ahead of Hong Kong Soccer Sevens

23 May 24

After winning the Northumberland Senior Cup last week, coach Chris Moore is hopeful Newcastle United Under-21s can add a further piece of silverware ahead of competing at this year's Hong Kong Standard Chartered Soccer Sevens.

The young Magpies, consisting of ten players, jetted out to the Far East on Tuesday as they bid to win the Main Cup for a third time in their last four visits after successes in 2018 and 2019, while a squad including  Paul Dummett and James Tavernier also lifted the trophy back in 2012.

Moore, who oversaw last year's squad which won the Main Shield, is hopeful United's youngsters can gain a vast amount of experience from their trip, both on and off the pitch as they face Leicester City, Tai Po and Singapore Cricket Club in Group D on Saturday, with the top two sides advancing into the Main Cup quarter-finals, which will be played on Sunday.

The 40-year-old coach, who featured for Darlington and Gateshead in his playing career, told "I went last year with the group and it's a really good tournament in terms of the football, level of teams and the atmosphere around it. It's good for the lads to have that.

"The further you go, the bigger the games feel and they are live on TV with a decent crowd so they get that experience and the feel of how big the club is when you go over there, with lot of Newcastle fans watching in their black and white shirts.

"It's a great footballing experience for the lads but also going away to a great city and getting that life experience as well.

"You learn about the format and how it works in terms of the opposition and variety of opposition, with lots of rules and factors on a seven-a-side pitch, a big area, which is good for player development too."

The likes of Alfie Harrison, James Huntley and Sean Neave have been named in the ten-man squad for this year's visit to Asia and Moore is keen for the club's Academy to add a further piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet this month after recently winning the Northumberland Senior Cup, beating Blyth Town 2-1 at St. James' Park.

Moore is also hopeful his youthful side can keep their cool in the seven-a-side tournament whilst playing in hot temperatures at the Hong Kong Football Club, with humidity also expected to exceed 80 per cent.

Reflecting on last year's competition, Moore added: "All the games were really tight. It is fine margins in the games, learning to deal with the heat. You have to be flexible within them if it goes to four versus four, having an outfield player go in goal, and the level of competition is high.

"It's quite intense when you are in it but I think the lads had a really good experience with the trip and capped it off by picking up some silverware.

"As an academy, your primary goal is player development but a big part of that is learning to win. You go to these tournaments and it's natural for players wanting to win.

"We'll be going there to try and pick up a trophy. The under-21s and under-18s both played before the tournament starts but we'll prepare as well as we can in the circumstances with the aim of going as far as we can in the competition."

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