Saints build links with Va­len­cia

Paisley Daily Express - - House Home - Craig Ritchie

St Mir­ren chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Fitz­patrick has been on a scout­ing mis­sion of his own as he jet­ted off to cast an eye over Span­ish gi­ants, Va­len­cia.

The Saints supremo was in­vited by the Pais­ley club’s part­ners, in­spire­s­port, and their head of sales for Scot­land, Jed McCabe to make the trip over to their ex­clu­sive club Va­len­cia CF in Spain last week­end.

Fitz­patrick joined McCabe to see how the La Liga side go about their busi­ness from acad­emy level all the way through to the first team.

De­spite the ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence be­tween the lev­els the two sides op­er­ate at, there were also a num­ber of par­al­lels be­tween the two clubs.

Both have a rich his­tory of bring­ing through youth play­ers into their first teams, with Va­len­cia CF cur­rently with seven play­ers in their side that have made their way through their world class youth acad­emy. This is the same acad­emy that Spain and Manch­ester City mid­fielder, David Silva came through.

The pair were given the op­por­tu­nity to watch sev­eral acad­emy games, in­clud­ing Va­len­cia CF vs Vil­lar­real at both un­der-14 and un­der-18 level.

And there was also time to rub shoul­ders with same stars, with Fitz­patrick in­tro­duced to Va­len­cia left- back, Toni Lato who has come through the club’s acad­emy and was re­cently voted in the world’s best team for his age. The pair en­joyed a lengthy dis­cus­sion on the 20-year-old’s path into the Span­ish side’s first team at the Mestalla.

Va­len­cia CF leg­end Miguel Án­gel An­gulo, who is chief scout for the first team, also took time out to talk with Fitz­patrick – shar­ing the club’s phi­los­o­phy and how they go about scout­ing the best play­ers in Spain. And there was even time to bump into chiefs from Amer­i­can acad­emy, Next Gen.

Due to the link be­tween St Mir­ren and in­spire­s­port, the idea is for St Mir­ren Acad­emy and youth teams to go over to Va­len­cia CF and test them­selves against their peers at the same age group. There is also a hope that both clubs will build strong re­la­tions go­ing for­ward.

Fitz­patrick was then in­vited in be­hind the scenes of the first team train­ing area and the Mestalla Sta­dium, be­fore he fin­ished off his tour by at­tend­ing Va­len­cia CF vs FC Barcelona – which ended 1-1.

Jed McCabe told Ex­press Sport : “With my­self be­ing from Pais­ley, it filled me with pride to join Tony on this trip to Va­len­cia and in­tro­duce him and St Mir­ren to some of the best coaches from some of the world’s best clubs.”

Big match Tony fin­ished the week­end by watch­ing Va­len­cia take on Barcelona

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