BRYN Morris has discovered for himself the footballing differences between Spain and England.
Morris jetted out with Middlesbrough team mates Bradley Fewster and Luke Williams for three weeks training with Atletico Madrid as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).
With Madrid and Boro forging a close link, the trio were sent to train with Atletico’s youth squads.
What the England U18 captain did not anticipate was the enormity of the contrasting philosophies and traditions.
He told SportMail: “It was very different, very laid back.
“They only train once a day and we aren’t used to that.
“We train then go in the gym but they go in the gym once a week, only if they want to, and they are in there for a short time.
“The U18s train at half 5 at night so that was weird.
“I’m used to training in the morning so waiting until the evening was strange. But I can see the advantages in that.
“It was interesting to see how different it is and good to get the experience.”
The view of the Spanish game is well versed across the globe now with the emphasis on technique development and a lesser focus on physicality.
So how did Morris find the training sessions? “Everything was technical, the tempo is very light,” he said. “Their game is based on keeping possession.
“They are very team-orientated, there aren’t a lot of individuals whereas we have a lot of individual players in our game.
“We’ve improved technically (over those three weeks) but probably lost a bit of strength because the tempo was so low.
“I think, though, that you have to be there a long time to improve a lot technically.”
The former High Tunstall pupil calmed fears that the English game is lagging behind the world’s elite in nurturing young talent, insisting that the gap is not as wide as speculated.
“Technically we aren’t a million miles away, honestly,” added Morris who scored Boro’s only goal in a 2-1 FA Youth Cup defeat at Spurs on his return to the country.
“They do so much technique work but we aren’t that far behind them.
“At this age, U18, we would beat them but in the long run they will feel the benefits of all the technique work.”