A-League club Melbourne City's head coach Warren Joyce is looking to integrate talented young players of his squad into the first-team before the start of the season. The Toyota Yaris LaLiga World tournament is all set to kick-off on July 24 at the JLN Stadium in Kochi and the coach is preparing his young squad for an exciting challenge.
The Australian club will take on Kerala Blasters and Girona FC on July 24 and July 27 respectively before their FFA Cup match against Brisbane Roar on August 7. The pre-season tournament, which is also promoted by India on Track, involves La Liga side Girona FC who made a name for themselves last season when they defeated Real Madrid in the league.
"It is my first time in India," Joyce told Goal. "We are looking forward to playing in front of a good crowd. We are looking forward to two tough games. Obviously, it is pre-season and we have to manage the health of the players. It will also be a chance for the young players to show what they can do. We have got some young players who are with the squad for the first time so we have got to integrate them. Everybody is looking forward to it.
"You want to win every game that you play. It is our first two games (of the new season) and it is important that they (players) don't pick up any injuries going into it. We have got a cup game soon after coming back."
The City Blues were established as Melbourne Heart FC in 2009. Investment from City Football Group in 2014 resulted in the rechristening of the club. Former Wigan Athletic coach Warren Joyce was appointed head coach of the team in 2017.
"We knew they have got a passionate fanbase. I am a big cricket fan so I know that Sachin Tendulkar is involved with the football club. I know some of the players there. I know that there were some ex-Manchester United players on the team. I know the manager (David James), he was a tremendous player and is a man with strong opinions. I am sure he will do well at Kerala Blasters," the 53-year-old said.
Before his Wigan Athletic stint, Warren Joyce was the coach of Manchester United Reserves for eight years from 2008 to 2016. As someone who has had experience nurturing young talents and getting them ready for the first-team, Joyce believes that Indian clubs' current trend of going after high-profile players who are past their peak could actually help the youngsters in the long run.
"You have got high profile players and then you have got young players who want to do well and play for the country and aspire to be playing the World Cup. It is great to have examples of players of the quality of Dimitar Berbatov and Wes Brown. I'm sure they (such high-profile players) will be helping the young players and above it, helping the coach.
"For sure, I expect the players to progress and do well for themselves. As a result, you would expect the national side to do well. It (development of young players) is a long-term process, I would imagine," said the former Hull City midfielder.
The Blues are expected to arrive in Kochi on July 20, four days before the first-ever international pre-season tournament to be held in India.