What Singapore pair learnt at QPR stint
Singapore duo learn much from eye-opening stint at Queens Park Rangers
REPORTING FROM LONDON
It was a simple poster that sat atop the coffee machine and the accompanying sugar bowls, in the canteen at Harlington.
No flashing lights or gaudy prints, just blue - the colours of the club - underneath two sentences of white text.
But, on that thin piece of paper, the poster carried one of the most poignant learning points two Singaporean lads took home from their week-long training stint at Queens Park Rangers earlier this month.
Watching the first team of the English Championship side train at their Harlington facility, Nuruddin Irsyad Samion and Effan Putra Ibrahim did not miss the poster's message.
It read: "Players adapt to the intensity of their training. You cannot prepare at a lower intensity, and play at a higher one."
The poster struck a chord with Irsyad, who plays with Gombak United's Under-16 side. He snapped a picture of it for his teammates and coaches back in Singapore.
"The biggest difference about the football here is the intensity, the intensity is much, much higher," said the 16-year-old.
"Your passes must be sharp, your technical movement must be good, but you must train with very high intensity, (for a while) I didn't think I could tahan (Malay for cope)."
"I will go back (to Singapore) and see if I can make things faster in training."
The duo, with three other pairs from Malaysia, Thailand and China, were selected for the training trip from last year's AirAsia-QPR Coaching Clinics in the respective countries.
They got a first-hand taste of the intensity in a friendly game that QPR's U-16 side played against their counterparts from Wealdstone FC.
QPR lost 5-0 to a side that dominated physically, while turning in a disciplined display of pressing football.
But it was not just their opponents who affected the Singaporean pair.
"Our fitness was fine, but it took a bit to get used to the cold," said Effan of the temperatures in London that dipped to as low as -1 deg C - with gusty winds - during their visit.
"The size of the players here is quite intimidating, you can adapt to that. But I think because of the weather here, they tend to play faster, and even drink less water (during the game)," said the 16-year-old Kranji Secondary School student.
QPR technical director Chris Ramsey said that it would be harsh to judge the Asian trainees on their performance in that Wealdstone loss, and instead urged them to do more after returning home.
"It was great to integrate the boys to the climate and the more robust type of players we've got here. This (trip) has allowed them to see what it's like at a professional club," said Ramsey.
"I think they've adapted well and they should go back and watch the DVDs (of the match) and look through the individual journals that we've got them to keep while they were here.
"The things they've learnt here will not be anchored unless they continually practise."
*Shamir Osman's trip was made possible by AirAsia.