'Confidence on track' ahead of Sparta Prague match

Our men's under-21s play their final group game of the Premier League International Cup on Wednesday night.

By Charlie Hanson • 08 February 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
The 20-year-old joined from Reading in the summer.

Imari Samuels says the men’s under-21s’ ‘confidence is on track’ ahead of Wednesday's Premier League International Cup match against Sparta Prague.

Shannon Ruth’s team have taken seven points from their three matches in the competition so a victory against Sparta would put them in the knockout stages.

“As a team we’ve adapted quite well to the tournament,” Samuels said. “We will treat it like a normal game and we want to win. Treating it the same keeps us level-headed and keeps our confidence on track.”


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PL International Cup Highlights: Albion 2 Feyenoord 0

The 20-year-old joined in the summer from Reading and believes he’s kicked on under Shannon Ruth and Gary Dicker.

“The intensity is a lot higher here, but I feel like I’ve got used to it and have settled into the team. The style of play demands a lot of you, but you get used to the routine of performing to that level on and off the pitch.

“Shannon looks after the players well. He wants me to show my qualities. I like to get forward and involved in the play creating chances.

“Gary wants us to get the basics perfect and then the rest will come. That means winning your headers, completing your passes, that sort of detail.

By Alex Burrows
Imari Samuels trains with the first team during their mid-season training camp in Dubai.

“He has shown us when it’s a good time to commit a foul to help break up the play and stop the opposition's momentum. We got to experience things like that in the Papa Johns Trophy, coming up against EFL teams.”

The defender has had the chance to train with the first team and enjoyed the taste of working with Premier League players.

“The demands on you, such as the quality of your passing, is a lot higher in first team. That increases the intensity, everything has to be tip top. For instance, I’ve watched Lewis Dunk play before but in training he’s a perfectionist and does everything to the best of his ability.”