- Leicester City’s Development Squad reached the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens Shield Final
- The Foxes were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle United after winning three games to get to that stage
- Coach Ben Petty looked back on the tournament and what it has provided for the team
- The seven-a-side competition based in Hong Kong included several other English sides
The squad ended the seven-a-side tournament as losing Shield finalists, having been knocked out of the Main Cup at the quarter-final stage following a 1-0 defeat to Tai Po of the Hong Kong Premier League.
Assessing the overall performance, Petty pointed to the experience as being an excellent learning curve for the Foxes youngsters across the week.
“I thought the lads were great over the two days, they gave us everything,” he told LCFC TV following the competition’s conclusion on Sunday.
“You could see by the nature of the competition, it's brutal in terms of if you do go a goal behind, you don't get much time to come back into it.
I hope they take this experience, not only in football but in life as well. They're all going to take things away.Ben Petty LCFC TV
“But I thought we played some great stuff, some really attractive football. As always, these lads make me proud.”
With just 14 minutes per game, and 20 minutes in the knockout stages, games are decided on key moments, no more so than in the Shield final against Newcastle when Joe Wormleighton hit the bar with the final kick of normal time, only for the Magpies to score a Golden Goal in extra-time and claim a 2-1 victory.
Petty explained: “It’s very, very fine margins here in the Soccer Sevens, and we saw that with the quarter-final against Tai Po as well. But like I said to the lads in there, it's about these key moments, and they they'll have that in their career.
“I think as you saw it was very much a team effort. All players got lots of minutes, they all contributed. Deniche [Hill] got the goal there in the final and it's a fantastic goal.
“I hope they take this experience, not only in football but in life as well. They're all going to take things away. I've just said to the lads, it has been a really tough season, but we need to take the positives out of it and learn and come back stronger.”
The Shield semi-final saw City face another Premier League 2 side in Fulham and came out on top 2-0 thanks to goals from Wormleighton and Kasey McAteer, despite playing the whole second half with six men, demonstrating real commitment and character, Petty believes.
“I thought the lads stuck at it really well,” City’s coach added. “It just goes to show you when you dig in and you play as a team and you work really hard, what you can get.
“That game against Fulham was a highlight for me of the two days, I thought we were terrific.”
Returning after a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Soccer Sevens tournament has proved a fantastic occasion for Leicester’s youngsters to test themselves against English, local Hong Kong and international opposition.
Petty added: “I think it's one of the best tournaments I've ever been to for young players. I think the hospitality and the facilities, and the quality of the tournament is second to none."
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