With the freezing weather showing no signs of letting up, Motherwell U19s will soon to be leaving it all behind when they travel to Turkey for a two-week training camp.
It’s a part of the SFA led Leonardo Da Vinci programme, an EU funded Lifelong Learning Programme for young people aged 18 or above who want to improve both their working and language skills while experiencing life in another European country.
The programme is also an opportunity for the participant and receiving organisation to exchange knowledge and ideas and to gain understanding of others by comparing their different cultures.
And Young is hopeful it will prove terrific benefit to his players’ development both personally and professionally.
He told the Scottish Sun, “The Leonardo Da Vinci programme shows these kids there is a life outside of Scotland.
“If they were successful it would give them a chance to look at life abroad. They might wish to play abroad. This trip will allow our boys to see and understand how other people live their lives.
“These days it’s about diet and lifestyle and that’s what I stress to my players. They have to get an overall understanding of how to live their life in the right way.
“Motherwell has a fantastic reputation of developing and enhancing its youngsters. My job is to ensure that continues. I need to give the manager here a pool of players he can turn to. Trips like this are invaluable. We need to mould these youngsters and give them the best possible grounding and start in life.
“You learn more about these youngsters when you’re away on trips like this. It develops a bond between the players that I hope lasts a lifetime. Guys like Steven Saunders, Steven Lawless, Robert McHugh and Shaun Hutchinson have benefited in the past.”
2011/12 will be Well’s fourth involvement in the Leonardo Da Vinci programme. Thanks to the hard work of the SFA, clubs up and down the country are benefiting from a programme which attracts 250,000 youngsters from across the continent each year.
[pullquote]You learn more about these youngsters when you’re away on trips like this. It develops a bond between the players that I hope lasts a lifetime.[/pullquote]
Young said: “The programme entails the SFA tapping into the central European fund which has created the Leonardo Da Vinci programme.
“This is all about the development, culturally, of young people. It’s about young people in further education all across Europe.
“Something like 250,000 kids from a wide range of disciplines take part each year. It’s not just football. Tom Docherty and Patrick Hart at the SFA have done some tremendous work in ensuring the essential funding. That enables Scottish teams to make a presentation on how they should be involved and experience this wonderful opportunity.
“This year we are travelling to Turkey along with Rangers and Queen’s Park. In the past every Premier League club in Scotland has been involved. We are going at the time of the winter shutdown, so it’s another excellent opportunity for the players.”
But Young insists it’s also an excellent opportunity for Motherwell to develop their own contacts in Europe.
He said: “From our perspective we think it is extremely worthwhile. It’s a two-week programme and as well as getting five to six weeks work of conditioning work done, the players get to experience a different lifestyle and a different culture.
“There will be reciprocal meetings with the local club, Antalyspor. We have a two-week training camp which will be supplemented by three matches.
“In the past we have played Anorthosis Famagusta and Nicosia in Cyprus and watched Lokomotiv Moscow, Schalke and Porto training.
“We have also been able to attend first-team matches as well as sharing coaching methods and establishing some excellent contacts. We now have strong links with Famagusta which led to Angelis Charalambous coming over in a short-term contract. He has since been named in the full Cyprus squad for the recent match against Scotland.
“We can share coaching experiences and that is always invaluable. You take something from each session and the information and networking is essential in the bigger picture at Motherwell. We are now in a position to help Ricky Sbragia and his Scotland Youth squad who will face Denmark. Because of our contacts, we are able to provide Ricky with DVD’s of the Danes who recently played Cyprus so it has been extremely worthwhile.”