Brighton & Hove Albion under-18s welcomed Indonesian side FA Garuda, coached by Dennis Wise and Des Walker, to the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre this afternoon for a friendly.
The Seagulls won 3-0, thanks to goals from Lorent Tolaj, Ryan Longman and Danny Cashman, as Garuda continued their six-month tour of England with a game in Sussex.
Former Chelsea captain Wise praised Albion’s youngsters for their performance, and believes Garuda’s players can take great knowledge from their visit to Brighton, which has followed games against Gillingham and Queens Park Rangers.
He said, “I was very impressed with them, they looked very powerful and showed some really good ability at times throughout the match.
“They’re a very organised group of boys that understand the game, they looked strong and competed very well. Technically, some of them were very good.
“The purpose of the game was to improve. Our players need to play against teams that are bigger and stronger, and they need to understand the game a little bit more.
“They play in Indonesia separately, and the Indonesian FA wanted us to select a group of boys to come over here, to find out how football is played in the UK.
“Obviously myself and Des [Walker] know it, but it’s important for these boys to experience it and improve. That was the most important factor of this.
“You look at Brighton’s group of players, and ours now realise that they have to step up to another level to be able to compete with them.
“They get to see the professionalism of Brighton’s players and the whole place in general, and that’s really important for them.”
Mikey Harris, who was managing Albion’s team alongside Mark Beard, spoke of the benefits on offer for both sides, as the Seagulls secured victory in changeable conditions on the south coast.
“Both teams took something from the game. It was a good experience for our players to play against a different type of team, with a different brand of cultural football.
“For them, I’m sure it was a good experience to play at our training ground and experience the fantastic weather in the south of England [hailstones, sun and rain].
“The physicality in the English game is very different to other countries, so it would have been important for their players to deal with that first hand.”