Brighton & Hove Albion under-23s defender George Cox is relishing the chance to play in the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens tournament this weekend.
The full-back is part of Simon Rusk’s ten-man squad that have travelled to the tournament, where Albion will face Leicester City, HKFA Red Dragons and Singapore in the group stages – and Cox insisted that the weekend competition is a challenge the side are looking forward to.
He said, “It will be a great experience, it’s the first time over there for all of us - I just can’t wait to get going really.
“With the heat and difference in culture, it will be something we’re not used to, but another challenge for this team.
“There are other English clubs over there, and I think we can go over there and clinch some more silverware.
“I played in tournaments when I was younger - nine or ten tournaments every summer. It’s been a while since then, but I’m really looking forward to tournament football again.”
The group stages will take place on the Saturday, with the first and second placed teams advancing to the Main Cup stage of the competition on the Sunday – third and fourth placed sides will enter the Main Plate stage on the same day.
Albion’s defender discussed the prospect of the smaller sided contests, as well as reflecting on last weekend’s Premier League 2 Division 2 play-off final victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park.
“I think the pitches are going to be reasonably big over there, so tightness won’t be much of a problem, but obviously we’ll only have seven players on the pitch.
“You’ve got to have good stamina on such a big pitch with less players. Your technical ability also comes into it.”
“Last weekend was an amazing feeling because it was reward for all our hard work, after coming close to the play-offs the season before - since New Year we’ve all just clicked as a team.
“We want to play for each other, there’s no selfishness in the team. Everyone works hard for one another and to get promoted was just the best feeling.”
Cox made 24 starts for Rusk’s team during the 2017/18 season, totalling six assists and getting himself on the scoresheet too – he reflected on a hugely successful campaign from a personal perspective and looked ahead to the future.
“A lot of people had a question mark over my defensive side of the game, but I think I’ve proved to people that I can do both sides of the game.
“I’ve shown that I can so the attacking side of the game, but my defensive work has improved this season, so I’m very happy with that.
“I’m hoping to get a loan move at some point. Some of the other lads, such as Ben White, have gone out and done very well, and I want to do the same.”
Brighton & Albion’s HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens squad: