LAMMACK Juniors have been picking up coaching tips from the greatest team in the world after getting the chance to watch Messi’s in the making.
The Blackburn club were invited by Barcelona to attend junior training sessions and a behind-closed-doors Academy match.
The four-day trip was set up by PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, who is patron of Lammack Juniors.
And the visit had the backing of Pep Guardiola, coach of the reigning European champions.
Now the club is hoping to make it an annual affair and perhaps forge closer links with the Spanish giants’ junior set-up.
“It was as you would have expected it to be, all of he children were playing the Barca way,” said Lammack chairman Nigel Dixon, one of six coaches to make the trip. “It was incredible to see so many gifted and talented young players. It is fair to say, they are way ahead of children in this country.
“It was fascinating to watch them going through the drills, which were very basic, but everyone of them was very comfortable on the ball.
“What hit home most was the camaraderie between players, not just the younger ones but senior ‘B’ team players were out there giving high fiving with the kids.”
The trip was made possible after Taylor, a former Blackburn Rovers player, contacted his counterpart in Spain.
“We are very grateful to Gordon for setting up the trip,” added Dixon. “He spoke to his colleague in Spain who set it up.
“Apparently, Pep Guardiola gave it is his blessing – just as long as we didn’t go while they were in Champions League action!”
Dixon is hoping to use some of what he learnt on the Barca training ground back at Lammack’s base.
“It’s not just the training methods but the whole ethos of the club,” said Dixon.
“You could see players were comfortable on the ball and, more importantly, they were enjoying themselves.
“Of course it helps when you are technically very gifted but we are trying to coach in to our players that they should learn to be comfortable on the ball. It will take time but the Barca trip has given us a real lift.”