New Ellan Vannin coach Alan Rogers says he has been impressed by the standard of his squad ahead of the forthcoming Europeada tournament.
The former Nottingham Forest and Tranmere full-back was in the island at the weekend to conduct his first training session with the team since taking the managerial reigns early last month.
Speaking after the conclusion of Sunday’s second day at a sun-kissed Mullen-e-Cloie, the former England under-21 cap said: ‘We did a morning session on Saturday and the work ethic of the boys was different class.
‘We explained what we’re trying to do - we don’t want to go to Italy to make the numbers up. ’
Rogers, assistant Tony Sheridan and director of football Dave Crennell pushed the squad hard over the weekend, but Rogers says the results are already evident: ‘The improvement of the lads over the weekend has been different class.
‘It’s a young squad, with seven or eight of the lads that would usually go on this trip unavailable.
‘There’s some good young talented boys - young Joey Morling and Rhys Oates are both really, really good young kids.
‘We had 24 turn up on Saturday and 18 on Sunday - you can’t fault the lads’ efforts. They’ve turned up over a lovely sunny weekend when they didn’t have to.’
Rogers appointment for the tournament in northern Italy between June 18-26 might only be the start, with plans afoot for an Ellan Vannin FC to enter an off-island league.
‘I’ve been speaking to Dave Crennell about the project to try and take a team off-island for a while.
‘It might rub some people up the wrong way, but it’s giving these boys a chance to make it further. There’s some talented lads here - there’s some good players - if we can help them enhance their careers we should do that.
‘It will give them a chance to showcase their talents further than the Isle of Man.’
‘It’s an exciting project - if it comes off I believe it will be a really, really good thing for the Isle of Man and its footballers.’