I found the Manchester City Football Performance Programme a very interesting and enjoyable experience. It was very different to anything else I have done before. The coaches were excellent and treated you exactly the same as a real Manchester City Academy player. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet other players from all over the world.
It was a very busy week with not just great football training but also the opportunity to tour the stadium and do many other activities. The accommodation and food were really nice and I made lots of good friends of all ages. Some of the older boys were really kind and helped us younger ones settle in during the first few hours.
I learnt many new skills and improved the skills that I already had by learning new techniques. I learnt that a positive mental attitude is essential to succeeding at the highest level of football. The coaches encouraged us to eat the right foods in order to ensure our bodies were in the best shape possible to perform on the pitch. However, they said that the way you act off the pitch, the way you conduct yourself as a person is equally important.
They taught us to respect our opponents and our teammates but also emphasized the need to work really hard at all areas of our game, not just those things that we are good at. They said that we should always aim to improve, every day. My favourite session was Match Day. We got the opportunity to mix with the language students in mixed teams and play an eleven-a-side match on a full-size pitch.
The variety and quality of the facilities and the professional approach of everybody, especially the coaches, made you feel like you were a proper professional footballer. The experiences that I had and the facilities that we used were just the same as professional players would use. We even went to the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance where I really enjoyed the Hydrotherapy session. We could not stop laughing when we went in the pool that was absolutely freezing. Your whole body was tingling! I cannot imagine what the ice baths are like!
My best piece of advice for future Performance players is to make sure that you go to bed early and get enough sleep! The days are all really intense with non-stop football and you need to be really fit and healthy and have a lot of energy to manage to perform at your best in every one. Don’t leave it too late to start eating the right foods, do it now. I used to eat a lot of junk food but felt much better for eating lots of fruit and veg and making sure I was hydrated. Preparing, training hard and practising your skills every day will set you up for the week. If you can learn other languages that is also really helpful as there are great players from all over the world at the camp. Above all, enjoy your football.