Josh Debayo has revealed his excitement at the prospect of playing for Saints Under-18s against Villarreal on Sunday – a side he feels share very similar traits with his own.
The defender and the rest of the group have been training hard throughout the week to prepare for Sunday’s test in Spain under new U18 coach Anthony Limbrick.
The side recently had the opportunity to visit Villarreal’s training ground to familiarise themselves with the surroundings and the club’s style of play courtesy of a coaching session from their staff.
“We’ve trained pretty much every day doing double sessions,” Debayo told Southampton’s official YouTube channel. “The other day we had a single session which was good for us as we’ve been working really hard.
“We’ve been having more drink breaks because it’s hot. Everyone’s coped really well with it really well and it’s important for us to stay hydrated so when we come to the pitch we can perform to our maximum no matter the weather condition.
“He (Limbrick) is a really good coach. He’s been good to me and the other lads, always encouraging us. We’ll carry on learning and keep progressing.
“Villarreal’s philosophy and ours is pretty much the same. They like playing out from the back and through the thirds. The drills we were doing [with their Under-16 coaches] were pretty much the same as ours. It’s always good to know that Southampton are playing the right way.”
Debayo emphasised the importance of staying tight as a unit against a team that will be accustomed to high intensity in the humid weather while suggesting that if their plan is successful then a victory could be the likely outcome.
“It should be a really good game,” the defender enthused. “We’ve been building up to it all week, specifically working on defending drills. Tomorrow we’ll stay nice and compact and let our attacking players try and win us the game.
“Everyone is really looking forward to it. We’ve done our set-plays today. I think if we stay focused for the game then we should win.
“The Spanish boys are used to the conditions so they might be a bit fitter than us maybe at this time. Apart from that, I think we can match them. If we defend and attack well and take our chances, then I think we’ll have more than enough to win the game. I think every game is going to be tough but I think this might be the toughest game.”