Youths to play in Leonardo Da Vinci tournament
By: Laura Brannan on 19 Jun, 2012 09:42
CELTIC’S youngsters will join the likes of Sporting Lisbon and Benfica in the prestigious Leonardo Da Vinci tournament, which is being held in Portugal next month.
Clubs from across Europe and Africa will take part in the competition and Celtic are hoping it will be as successful as their first participation 18 months ago in Turkey.
Tommy McIntyre and John Kennedy will take a squad of Under-17s, along with a selection of 18-years old, for the fortnight-long tournament which kicks-off on July 14.
And the Head of Professional Youth, McIntyre, told the official Celtic website it is an honour to feature in the competition again. “This is Celtic’s second time in the tournament and it was invaluable to us the last time” he said.
“It was the Christmas period when the weather was particularly horrendous and that made it difficult to train. But in Turkey we got a nice climate, good training facilities and it gives the players an educational experience. That alone, we hope, will enhance their pathway to becoming a professional footballer.
“It’s a two week training camp which we see as a fundamental and integral part in developing players. One of our main aims is to develop players for Champions League football and Portugal is renowned for producing talented youth players.
“We must create an environment where the best play against the best. We’ll be playing three games over there and we are hoping to set it up as a four-team league. We want to challenge our players and put them into an environment where they will learn and develop."
Head of Youth, Chris McCart, praised McIntyre for securing Celtic's participation. He said: “A lot of credit is down to Tommy. He has put a lot of hard work into submitting the application and working with the SFA.
“It is ideal preparation for young professionals to go away for a two-week training camp prior to the season. It is going to be very challenging and it will set them up well for the Under-20 league.
“Preparation during pre-season is vital and it gives the coaches a good chance to work with the players over an intense period.”
The lower age groups in the Youth Academy will also be involved in pre-season tournaments towards the end of July.
The Under-15s will travel to Shanghai for the prestigious Nike Cup, while the Under-14s will participate in the Derry Foyle Cup, a tournament Celtic have been very successful in over the past three years.
The Under-10s will also repeat last year’s venture down to England where they were based in Carlisle and played a string of clubs including Manchester City, Liverpool and Newcastle.
The Under-10s, along with the Under-8s and Under-9s, will also play in the Glasgow District League, which will be based at Toryglen.