Northern Ireland Under 19 and Under 17 manager, Stephen Robinson, alongside his assistants Stephen Craigan and Tommy Johnson have organised monthly training sessions for the Northern Ireland U17 squad.
The sessions take place one Saturday and Sunday each month and are being used as part of the preparations for the 2013/2014 UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifying round mini tournament which will be hosted by Northern Ireland in November.
The training takes place at the Antrim Forum and Robinson would like to thank Antrim Borough Council for the support they have given.
“The facilities at Antrim Forum are fantastic; we get the use of the outdoor pitches, indoors sports halls as well as the gym and spa – which is great for all the young players,” he said.
“It is a great set-up, and will only keep improving. We appreciate the support the Council has given and I hope the partnership can keep growing between the Irish FA and the Council.”
Robinson also stated how these training sessions are of great value to the success of the U17 squad: “This is the only time we get them together as a group before they disperse to provisionally play for clubs across the water. This first three or four months training are vital.”
Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill has also been involved in the training sessions which are invaluable to the development of the young players.
The main aim behind the training is to prepare for the 2013/2014 UEFA European U17 Championship qualifying round; and in addition to these sessions, the squad will also take part in friendly matches in Wales, Malta and Poland which will give the players some match time and keep them on top form for the November mini tournament.