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UNDER-18s HOST CHINESE NATIONAL SIDE IN FRIENDLY

19 September 2019

City’s under-18s gained valuable experience in welcoming the under-19s Chinese national side to Woodhouse Grove, on August 31.

The friendly encounter finished 1-1, with Bantams midfielder Eliot Goldthorp scoring a penalty, late on.

Lead professional development coach Mark Trueman insisted the exhibition represented a great opportunity for his players, and was pleased with how they performed.

He said: "We played really well, even though the game finished 1-1. We were the better team all the way through.

"We created a lot of chances which, in hindsight, was probably understandable because the lads have been playing with each other for some time, whereas our opponents were more-or-less put together.

"There was not much structure from their part, and it showed because we were able to carve them open, on multiple occasions.

"Overall though, I was really impressed with the performance."

The Chinese side are playing in the EAFF E-1 Football Championship this December, meaning the coaches needed match time to decide on their 23-man squad.

The young Bantams also had a free, non-playing week, leading to first-team manager Gary Bowyer organising the encounter against the Asian opponents, in the hope of gaining valuable experience against an international side.

Trueman admitted Bowyer has been keen to develop a healthy relationship with the staff in the academy since arriving at the club, and understands the importance of bridging the gap between the under-18s and first team.

He added: "Gary (Bowyer) has been great with the youth team and, obviously, with the coaching staff.

"He has got a lot of connections within the game and for him to put this fixture together for us is fantastic.

"The game is a great asset for the players. It gives them a new challenge, to test themselves against international footballers who play a different culture and style of play.

"I think the gaffer has been great with the way he has been speaking to the staff and the players.

"He has shown a big interest in the youth team and it shows. All we can do is try to improve the players and give them as much experience as possible."

Trueman’s young Bantams continued their Youth Alliance Cup campaign with a 5-1 victory at Rochdale on Tuesday September 17.


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