Budding footballers from India's Steel City have returned home after an unforgettable visit to Sheffield.
Members of the Tata Football Academy (TFA), based in Jamshedpur, have spent three weeks as guests of Sheffield United, experiencing life in England's Steel City.
As well as the players receiving specialist coaching from United's coaching team every day at the club's Shirecliffe Academy and their coaching staff receiving mentoring and guidance from their Blades counterparts, the TFA visitors also...
- were afforded a Civic Reception at the Town Hall with Lord Mayor, Cllr John Campbell
- played a series of friendly fixtures against local teams such as Sheffield FC and Hallam FC
- were special guests at United's home fixtures against Bury and Doncaster Rovers
- toured Bramall Lane and were given an extensive insight into the ground by Club Historian, John Garrett
- were given bespoke training programmes at Sheffield Boxing Centre
- watched their first ever ice hockey fixture when they watched Sheffield Steelers take on the Cardiff Devils
Former Blades midfielder Lee Walshaw, who has been to Jamshedpur on a number of occasions to assist with coaching, has been heading up United's association and helped to put together the three-week programme of events for the Indian boys.
"The aim of the trip was to give the Indian boys a taste of life in Sheffield, as well as the opportunity to train and play matches in an English environment to see how they would do.
"The games against the local teams have gone very well and each of the boys will have learned from the experience. A few of the boys trained with the U18s several times and on one occasion, the U21s. The feedback from the SUFC coaches involved was very favourable and I think they were quite surprised at the standard of the boys."
Lee added: "As well as the football development, they have enjoyed everything connected with the trip. They watched the home encounters with Doncaster and Bury, whilst the Civic Reception and boxing circuit sessions at Sheffield Boxing Centre were well received.
"The whole trip, which was funded by Tata, was an unforgettable experience that the boys will not forget in a hurry."
United Managing Director, Dave McCarthy, added: "The TFA boys and the coaches were a credit to their Academy and indeed to football in India. Sheffield United staff all worked extremely hard to make this not only a trip to remember for the lads and the Indian coaches, but also one in which they could learn as much as possible that they can work on back home, as we develop this unique relationship even further."