Having worked in the tours business for over four years now FTI have had to organise matches in many countries across Europe. Arranging matches for elite teams against professional clubs can be quite easy. This is because most professional clubs are interested in testing their players against quality opposition from different countries and backgrounds.
Teams from different parts of Europe are coached differently and have alternative training methods. The academies of teams such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Ajax and many of the other large teams across Europe have their youth teams in training up to 4 or 5 times a week. A lot of English professional clubs only have their players in at a young age 2 to 3 times a week. This is many peoples opinion is why the English International team is so far behind the other European countries.
The best way to test youth player’s ability is to play them against elite teams from other countries. These players have been coached to play in a different way and having seen many games between English Youth teams against European opposition, the foreign opposition seem to come out on top more often. The English teams seem to take the more physical side of the game looking to get stuck in and compete well. The foreign teams look to play more football, looking to keep possession and be patient to create opportunities, they are able to do this because they are technically better with the ball, this is including their touch as well as been comfortable on the ball when dribbling and passing.
When arranging matches for elite teams the main aim in my opinion is to find quality playing facilities, again in the likes of Holland and Spain these are more readily available; most facilities in England suffer due to adverse weather conditions. A good quality playing surface is important when plotting two elite professional teams against each other. The next part is to ensure you have quality officials. When organising younger teams matches you can often get away with 1 official as referee and have a representative from each team to run the line. Try to ensure the match is set up well in advance so it gives both teams plenty of time to organise players etc.