Monday evening marked the last of the Northumberland FA U18 County Representative side trial sessions, with the pinnacle of grassroots talent on show at Whitley Park aiming to secure a spot in the final squad.
The players were tested in training drills alongside match play in front of a panel of coaches, who will have the hard task of picking the best of a skilled bunch to include in the coming weeks.
“The trials went really well, it shows the hard work that the grassroots coaches and colleges are putting in because there are some really quality players that we are looking to add on top of last year,” said Northumberland FA manager, Kane Wears.
“I think Northumberland has one of the best junior leagues around and some cracking senior teams which give the young players an opportunity, so that gives us an advantage over other counties.”
The backroom staff have also stated their intent for the upcoming season, beginning their preparations early to recruit new talent into the side, whilst keeping the bulk of the squad from the previous year.
And enthusiasm is high ahead of the first fixture in the Association of Northern Counties East Division against West Riding FA, with Wears expecting a successful season ahead.
“Last year was a good learning experience for us - being coaches for the first time in these competitions,” explained Wears.
“But we want to win the league and the cup this year, so if that means bringing in new players then that’s what we’ll do.
“Me and the rest of the staff have been out watching some players, but there have been a few who have turned up to the trials under the radar and have performed really well.”
The fixture against West Riding will take place at Whitley Park in September, with dates yet to be confirmed.
Players who were successful in the trial dates will be contacted by Kane Wears and invited back to play and train with the squad ahead of the 2018/19 season.