Jonathan Calvo from Aspire Academy: “It was an honour for us to train at the Gazprom Academy”
The technical director of Qatar's Aspire Academy gave us his thoughts on their visit to St. Petersburg.
How do you rate Zenit's Gazprom Academy?
I've received a lot of calls from my colleagues and friends and everyone's been asking me about the Gazprom Academy and I've told them all the same thing, it is excellent! the pitches are superb with artificial grass and there are pitches with different types of surface, but they are all like new, it’s great that you can train in these different conditions, in the rain or in the snow. The accommodation is also very good with excellent rooms and everything we need. It’s good that there is Wi-Fi only in the common rooms too, as it makes the children talk to each other. I haven't seen everything here, but I am sure that all the facilities for coaching are excellent. Everything is convenient and efficient and just what is needed to work with players and improve them.
Have you ever been to Russia before and seen the academies here?
No, I have never been before, but I have friends who have visited some of Russia's football academies. I know that clubs in Russia are working hard to improve players here and are trying to raise a great next generation of players.
You played here three games here against the Gazprom Academy. How do you rate the level of the players here?
The level is very good. When I look at each team, I always try to highlight some of the individual player qualities. From what I saw, I can say that the players here have some wonderful talent that can lead to the first team. We played against teams born in 2003, 2005 and 2006, and looking at the players, we can already see some of them will be first team players in the future, and this is the most important thing for a club. I have no doubts about the top quality of the Zenit Academy and its players. I think that two or three players from every age will make it to the first team.
- The next World Cup will be held in Qatar. Do you think that such an experience of field training can help in preparing for it?
- Of course, it will be difficult for those players who were now coming to Petersburg to get into the Qatar team due to their age. But I’m sure that the experience they got here will help them become great players in the future.