With the Adelaide United Youth Team returning to training last week, there is a new face floating around, 18 year old Mitchell Walsh.
A natural talent, the Australian and English citizen is a centre back who reads the ball well and who is looking forward to striving forward with the Youth Team. Playing stints at both Preston North End’s and Stoke City’s youth academy, he was also recently a part of the Hartpury College side who were crowned the best college team in England.
Seeing what Adelaide United had to offer last year, he was drawn back after knowing he would be able to apply his trade full time under the 12 month Youth Program.
Now, the Youth Team will be training five times a week along with playing up to two matches per week. Included in the program are training, gym sessions, as well as pilates. And with such a complex game plan and philosophy which Josep Gambau has installed from the grassroots up, it is something to look forward to for the future.
Earlier this year the defender joined the Youth Team over in Spain for the International Cup and was highly impressed by the style on display.
Playing from the back using a sweeper keeper which is also used by Socceroos Coach Ange Postecoglou, the style took off mid-way through the season last year.
“I’ve learnt a heck of a lot in England in terms of the way I play and understanding defending. But in terms of playing style, it’s unreal,” said Walsh.
“I learnt more with that style in a week than in some things I did in England.”
Not only was it the program that has been installed in the past twelve months, but also who would be teaching the techniques that attracted the dual citizen. Childhood heroes Michael Valkanis and Angelo Costanzo are part of the Youth Team program.
“For me they’re the two I aspired to be like when I was growing up and watching football,” said the defender.
“They were my two favourite players, it’s crazy.”
But it wasn’t just what Adelaide had to offer, it was the feeling he got when he put on that red shirt when he played in Spain.
“It was such a good feeling to put the red shirt on because it means more. As good as it is playing for Stoke City, yes it’s a Premier League Club but it doesn’t have the same sort of feel because you’re not from there.”
“You’re trying to boost your city, like yeah, that’s where I’m from.”