Derby County Football Club Women

“Aston Villa Experience was Amazing” says U12s Coach

Heading into her 4th straight season as a coach, Under 12’s manager Lucy Gascoigne has seen the change in her squad as they build up there progression having now moved on from the foundation stage of their learning to youth development phase.

We spoke with Derby County Women Academy Director Dave Cholerton who gives an overview of the U12’s side this season before Gascoigne talks about what the side’s experience and adaptability during the lockdowns and there visit to Aston Villa RTC.

Cholerton said “It’s been a great season for Lucy and her side, they play with good intensity and are doing the right things when in and out of possession which allows them to work well as a team. 

“Both Lucy and fellow Coach Dan (Brentnall) are great at presenting opportunities for the players and that is being seen in their style they are playing as a side and it has helped them to develop and we are really pleased with their progression this season.”

Earlier this season an opportunity for the Ewe Rams Under 12’s arose that saw them take on top Midlands RTC side Aston Villa, coming away with a victory and was a continuation of their development both on and off the pitch.

Gascoigne said “Our experience at Aston Villa was amazing, the facility was great, we are very thankful for the invite to join them and hope that this is the beginning to having fixtures vs elite teams. 

“Although the girls were nervous we played well and I think it was our sheer determination, hard work and team spirit that got us the result. It was fantastic to watch the villa girls because they were technically so gifted, they were confident to hold the ball and take on players covering ground. 

“From that game we were able to see that we need to continue the technical practices and be confident enough to carry the ball and enjoy the 1v1 pressure.”

Gascoigne is keen to show the qualities of her side on the pitch and says a big part is also played off the pitch themselves, with their own development and challenging themselves to get better each time they stop onto a pitch.

“Our key to success this season is the girls challenging themselves both as a team and individually. They take there development seriously and all look to improve themselves not just through matches but also training. 

The girls and parents invest lots of commitment in their own time and We are very proud of that and for those working by hard it shines through in their match performances. Through these testing times we have been grateful of such a tight knit team that have continued to push themselves through lockdown, keeping themselves both physically and mentally on the game. 

“We lost to burton u13s in penalties in last seasons cup final and although the loss hit the girls they bounced right back. As a team we learnt that we simply must take the chances in the final third as we dominated the game throughout the 60 mins. We could and should have closed that game in normal time so we learn from that and that gave us plenty to work on in training. Since then we have had goals a plenty!”

It’s been a difficult time over the course of 2020 with the previous season coming to a premature end and the new season already disrupted but Lucy believes the work that was put in during the lockdown has paid off.

“The breaks in playing and training have been difficult, the girls have missed playing of course but we have come back very strong and this is testament to the hard work during lockdown. 

“We returned to play a big organised Heanor side that we had tight games with last season, the girls played with such maturity and intelligence beyond their years in tough weather conditions, we reaped the benefits in this game coming away 8-2 winners. 

“Dan and I are pleased with progress and moving forward want all the girls to realise their potential and that the hard work really does start with training at high game intensity. If we train like we play then we will play like we train, simple.”