Super League players got a taste of life in football’s Premier League on a working visit to Everton Football Club’s state-of-the-art training ground.
Castleford Tigers’ first team squad rubbed shoulders with football stars – including Belgian International Marouane Fellaini – during the day out at Finch Farm.
The Tigers’ players were put through their paces by Everton’s coaching team – including David Weir and Alan Stubbs – and were treated as Premier League players with their football skills tested in a series of drills before a full fitness session.
Tigers’ head coach Ian Millward was keen to freshen up his side’s training programme following two friendly fixtures and ahead of the first Super League match of the season as they prepare to face Warrington Wolves this Sunday.
Most of the Tigers’ players are under 21 and Millward was delighted to be able to offer them an opportunity to experience an alternative training experience in first-class facilities.
With privileged access to Everton’s facilities, the squad also made use of the on-site swimming pool as part of their rehabilitation session.
And The Super League squad adapted well to the change in training with Everton’s coaching team full of praise for the attitude of the entire squad and the way they responded to the intensity of the fitness session.
Millward said: “All staff at Everton FC couldn’t have been more obliging.
“They have outstanding facilities at Finch Farm and it was a real privilege for the guys to be able to experience that.
“It was a different challenge for them but they really enjoyed the day and were buzzing from start to finish.”
Tiger’s full-back Richard Owen was starstruck after meeting Belgian international Marouane Fellaini.
He said: “I asked David Moyes if he was around and the next thing I knew, he had brought him over to meet me.”
Owen added: “He is a great player and one of Everton’s biggest stars so it was really good to get the chance to meet him.”
Back row forward Lee Gilmour said: “The facilities were unbelievable and to be trained by football legends such as Alan Stubbs was a real privilege.
“It was obviously a bit a of a change for us but some of the two on two football skill sessions had similarities to the drills we usually do in training so it was good to get another perspective.
“All the boys really enjoyed the experience.
“It was a bit different and a great way for us to gel as a team as we build up to the first game.”