Christchurch United Talent Impresses At Trials With Clubs Across Europe

Player Pathway
Young Christchurch United talent Oscar Obel-Hall has put himself in the footballing spotlight during trials with prominent professional clubs in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.

The 14-year-old is currently trialling with Dutch Cup finalist Willem II after spending last week at Danish side FC Mydtjyland and will head to German side Borussia Mönchengladbach at the end of this week.

In his evaluation report, FC Mydtjyland Under-15 coach Martin Mark said that Oscar had left a positive impression and that they are interested in seeing him again.

“FC Mydtjyland wants to follow Oscar and invite him to a longer stay in our academy,” wrote Mark in his reports which pointed out the young New Zealander’s strong physical and technical abilities, but that he needs to use those skills and his decision-making at a higher tempo.

The Christchurch United player will not be surprised by that feedback, as he said that the intensity of the training sessions was the biggest eye-opener.

“That was very different to New Zealand. Every training is basically like a first-team training for me at Christchurch United,” said the 14-year-old who is already knocking on the door of Danny Halligan’s senior team.

The youngster has been at Christchurch United and the Christchurch Football Academy since its inception in 2014 and is developing into one of the brightest talents at club, said Academy Director Colin Williamson.

The trials were made possible through Christchurch United’s football networks around the world, with Williamson setting up the trials through contacts at Willem II and Borussia, while Oscar was invited to FC Mydtjyland based a video highlights from his games in New Zealand. FC Mydtjyland is one of the top clubs in Denmark and regularly features in the Europa League. Its academy is famous for producing a host of Danish internationals, as well as All Whites captain Winston Reid, who grew up at the club before switching back to his country of birth for the 2010 World Cup.

Despite the higher training intensity at Mydtjyland, Oscar was pleased to report that he could match the physicality and technical skills of the professional Danish academy players, but noticed that his fitness levels were below par.

“These boys are really fit because they do these intense trainings every day, but for me it is something that I need to work on in my own time,” said the student of the Unlimited Discovery school.

Aside from his fitness, the Christchurch United player noted that scanning the movements of other players around him became more important as the speed and intensity of the play increased but added that that developing good scanning skills may not get enough attention back in New Zealand. In his evaluation report, the FC Mydtjyland coach recognised that young players in New Zealand are challenged for not being able to play regular matches at an international level, like his peers in Europe, but suggested some drills to increase his handling speed and to analyse his own games.

This week’s final stop in Germany will complete an incredible European tour for Oscar who was also part of the Christchurch United U16 squad that spend two weeks at the Valencia Academy in Spain.

Spending time with professional clubs in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain has given Oscar invaluable insights that he will be sharing with his team-mates in Christchurch.

“Now I’ve seen what the level is like in Europe I know what kind of intensity I need to train with back home,” said Oscar.