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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Italian job for college footballers
Llandrillo College football squad
Budding Beckhams from a footballing centre in north Wales are hoping to learn from the Italian masters of the beautiful game.

The squad of the Football Development Centre at Coleg Llandrillo in Rhos-on-Sea have flown out to Italy as guests of legendary football club, Juventus.

On their week-long visit they will watch the Turin-based team train for their Champions League final clash with AC Milan, which takes place at Old Trafford next week.

The group, who are aged between 16 and 19, will be watching the likes of Del Piero, Nedved and Davids in coaching sessions at the Stadio Delle Alpi.

They will be allowed into the normally closed quarters of the stadium to watch the team train for their big final and see their fixture with rival Italian team, Chievo.

John Charles at Ninian Park
John Charles became a Juventus legend

They will also have an opportunity to demonstrate their own skills in matches with the country's top youth teams.

Coach Rhodri Davies, who is travelling with the squad, said: "The pupils will have a chance to see top coaching and one of the top teams.

"They will play against other youth teams from Juventus, Turin and another from the College of West Anglia in a four-team tournament.

"But, it will be a cultural and educational trip too," he added.

'Gentle Giant'

The youngsters will be following in the footsteps of Welsh footballing hero, John Charles, whose name is still legendary in Italy.

He set a world record in 1957 when he signed for Juventus for 65,000.

The Swansea-born star earned the nickname 'The Gentle Giant' during his time in Italy because he was never sent off or even booked.

The Football Development Centre at Llandrillo college was officially launched by Brazilian soccer legend Jairzinho in 2002.

It gives talented footballers between 16 and 19 the chance to pursue their academic studies while developing their sporting careers

The team members come from Rhyl, Penmaenmawr, Llandudno, Prestatyn, Denbigh and Rhos-on-Sea.

On their past trips abroad they have visited Barcelona and Moscow.

They have also had success on the field - as Welsh College Champions in 2002, Education Exchange Cup winners in 2001 and last year's group winners in the European Universities League.


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