Albion kick-off European campaign against Feyenoord tonight

Shannon Ruth excited for "extra buzz" around International Cup curtain-raiser.

By Matt Bishop • 25 October 2022

By Bennett Dean
Under-21s head coach Shannon Ruth has seen his side score ten goals in their last three matches.

Men’s under-21s head coach Shannon Ruth is looking forward to seeing his side on the European stage tonight, as they face Feyenoord at 7pm. 

The Dutch side’s visit to the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre kicks off our Premier League International Cup campaign, a tournament which sees 12 of England’s best academy teams take on 12 of Europe’s top development squads. 

Every match is played in England, with Monaco, Sparta Prague and PSV joining Albion and Feyenoord in Group B, alongside Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham, and Ruth believes it will be great experience for his team. 

He said, “We’re really excited to play tonight – it’s our first game in this competition since before the pandemic.

“For our under-21s, we try our hardest to give the squad a vast variety of games and opponents to aid their development, so this is an exciting opportunity for them. These games always build an extra buzz around the training ground.

“Playing a big European club adds an edge. I wouldn’t expect anything too different from playing a top Premier League 2 side, but in terms of feel and excitement it’s bigger. The boys are keen to put on a performance and enjoy the game.”

By Bennett Dean
Jack Hinshelwood scored the winner against West Ham on Saturday.

All three groups in this year’s competition are made up of eight teams, with the top two from each reaching the last 16 alongside the two best third-place sides. 

Albion will be hoping their current league form, which saw them beat West Ham 3-2 on Saturday following a 4-0 win over Spurs and 3-3 draw against Manchester United, will help them reach the knockout stages.

“Seven points from the last three league games is pleasing.” said Ruth. “The team is in a really positive place at the moment and the win against West Ham highlighted that. 

“We’re playing in the fashion we want to play. We’re pleased with the identity of the team, the amount of chances we’re creating and the amount of goals we’re scoring. 

“There is confidence amongst the squad. As a club how we play with the ball is vital and we have a way of playing that the players are committed to. Our winner against West Ham was really pleasing from a philosophy perspective, and we’re delighted with how we look on the ball.

“Committing so much with the ball means it’s a bit tougher for our defensive players and when we’re out of possession so that’s an area we can work on, but as a whole we’re in a good place. 

“Hopefully we can continue our good form this evening. We’re really looking forward to it.”