- Leicester City's Development Squad are ready for the new season, says Steve Beaglehole
- The Foxes open against Manchester United behind-closed-doors at Belvoir Drive on Monday
- Beaglehole believes his side are well placed to enjoy a successful campaign in Premier League 2
- Supporters can watch the Under-23s' season opener for free on LCFC TV from 12:45pm
The Premier League 2 campaign officially got underway on Saturday but City have been forced to wait for their opener at Belvoir Drive on Monday afternoon (1pm kick-off).
Sitting down with LCFC TV on the eve of the new season, Beaglehole said: “I’m really excited, it is a great league. It was a brilliant idea by the Premier League, it’s a really competitive league.
"They are great games to judge your young players by.
It’s the norm, they are expected to win at all levels. We have done very well against Manchester United, we have more than held our own.Steve Beaglehole
“As usual we’ve got an 'easy' start; Manchester United, Everton, Manchester City. They are games we want to be involved in and pleased we are involved in.”
United, who City collected a solitary point from last term, are first up on Monday and Beaglehole knows exactly the sort of test they will provide for his young squad.
“It doesn’t matter what team they put out, they are a tactical test,” he said.
“They play a flexible 4-2-3-1. Their players are very fit, especially when Warren Joyce was there.
“He’s not there anymore but I am sure it will have continued in that trait. They have good players working hard. If you play for Manchester United, you’re expected to win games.
Beaglehole Looks Ahead To United Clash
Development Squad manager Steve Beaglehole sat down with LCFC TV to discuss pre-season preparations and the new Premier League 2 season ahead.
“It’s the norm, they are expected to win at all levels. We have done very well against Manchester United, we have more than held our own.”
Beaglehole has been delighted with the progress he has seen over the summer months, a period which included four days in Jersey and just under a week in northern France.
“When you take a group away, it is not just the football side of it, it is the bonding,” he added.
“Seeing them in Jersey and France, you get to know them in a different way. It tests them. In Jersey we had three sessions, they were up very early for 5am runs, which is what they are used to.
“We’ve had a very varied summer, we had the tournament in France and, while results weren’t as strong as last year, we finished off strongly against Paris Saint-Germain [a 1-0 win].
Under-23s take on Paris Saint-Germain
The Development Squad take on PSG in France.
“We experimented quite a bit because the first team were away and one or two of the players were on those trips.
“In the last week or so, we have given players game time and we’re almost certain who will play, subject to any injuries in the first team after they played on Friday night.”
“They have settled in very well,” he revealed. “Sam Hughes from Chester is a big, strong centre-back. The recruitment lads flagged him up and we got that one over the line.
They are three young players with a lot of talent and it will be good to see how they all flourish.Steve Beaglehole
“There was competition from other Premier League clubs. Unfortunately, in France, the first game, he injured his ankle ligaments, which was a nasty one.
“We won’t have him for the first couple of games, which is a loss because he’s an asset. He has a good character, a bit like Josh Gordon, who also played in non-league football.
“He knows what it’s like and loves it here. Players from non-league come here really hungry to prove themselves and he’s like that.
“George Thomas from Coventry is another exciting prospect. He played in their first team and scored at Wembley last season.
“He made over 30 appearances for Coventry, who are a good club. They went down [last season] but they are a club who have always produced good players.
George Thomas is unveiled at City's training ground.
“He’s a similar player to Harvey Barnes, he likes to play on the right or the left or even as a No.10. I’m excited about him, I think he is a great acquisition.
“The other one is another who we might not see until later in his development. Rhys Davies, a young goalkeeper from Newport; I like him very much.
“We liked him and certainly backed the decision to sign him. They are three young players with a lot of talent and it will be good to see how they all flourish.”
On the task at hand on Monday, Beaglehole is fully focussed on securing a positive start to the new campaign, following a late defeat by United this time last year.
We want to be renowned for our pressing and our ability to not let them play. We’ve spoken about that and I hope they start with that tempoSteve Beaglehole
The Under-23s manager also offered an insight into the type of football he wants his side to play this season.
“We want to be renowned for our pressing and our ability to not let them play,” he said.
“We’ve spoken about that and I hope they start with that tempo, winning the ball back early. I’d like to think that technically we have players who are as good as them.
“That’s a good yardstick and I believe that we have. It’s about producing that technical ability when you’re under pressure.
“Although we won’t be at King Power Stadium which has a different pressure, the manager will be here and the senior staff, which can influence players in a positive or negative way.
“I hope they put on a performance for him. We’ve talked about it for the last two or three years, it is about developing players but we want to get off to a good start.
“It is important in any campaign to hit the ground running. Aim for a win and, if we don’t win, then don’t get beat. Last year, we played them away in the first game. We dominated the game and it was 0-0 with a few minutes to go.
"We went for the win but we weren’t set up right at the back and they did us on the counter.
“Ahead of matches at Goodison Park and Etihad Stadium, I’m looking for us to get a positive result from that match against Manchester United.”
*Please note the fixture against Manchester United Under-23s will be played behind-closed-doors.
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