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SWINDON TOWN: The real deal
PAOLO Di Canio expects to see his Swindon Town side given a rigorous test by Bayern Munich II in the northern Italy village of Andalo this evening.
After the 9-1 thrashing of a local select XI at their training base on the banks of Lake Garda last week, the Robins’ second friendly of the summer will be something of a culture shock, with Munich’s reserve team – which boasts German legends Gerd Muller and Mehmet Scholl amongst its management staff – likely to give Di Canio an accurate indication of how much work still needs to be done before the League One season begins next month.
Bayern’s second string, who will play in the new Regional Bavaria league in 2012/13, feature a couple of notable names among their ranks.
Dale Jennings, the former Tranmere youngster who moved to the German side last year for a fee that could rise to £1.8million, will undoubtedly give Paul Caddis and Jay McEveley a work out in the wide areas, while in the middle of the park Town’s defence will have to deal with a certain Mr Schweinsteiger.
Thankfully for the Swindon back four, perhaps, it is not Bastian but Tobias, the German international’s older brother who arrived at the club from Regensburg this summer.
All in all it is set to be a challenging afternoon for Town, and Di Canio is excited to see how his team fares.
“Some of them are maybe 19 but most are 22 or 23 and they prepare those players for the first team,” he said. “There is talent, quality, discipline and organisation so I’m very happy because finally we have a real test.
“We know that they are a good team. There are only four or five players from last year but the same two strikers should play tomorrow, the central midfield player and the right-back.
“They normally play in League One in Germany and they are ready to play. They have a real competition and a real league to play and I’m curious to see what they are like.”
Bayern Munich II have a rich history of nurturing players that go on to succeed on the highest stage in the global game.
In the past decade alone, the squad has incubated the talent of Phillip Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos, while Owen Hargreaves and Dietmar Hamann also progressed through the system on the way to achieving significant notoriety within the game.
It seems a foundation with the Munich reserve team is the perfect entrenchment in football, and Di Canio admitted he was unlikely to pursue a move for any Bayern players that may impress him over the course of the 90 minutes tonight.
“You never know. Every moment you can get information from things that happen in front of you. We are going to play against a team that’s got talent,” he said.
“I’m sure it would be difficult, if I saw someone that I liked, to bring them in because obviously they are there because they want to keep them and see them grow up in front of them.
“Never say never, but I would be surprised if I see someone I like and then if I ask they give him to me. We never know, we will see tomorrow but most important for me is to see my players and how they improve – especially the new players.”
Di Canio is expected to name what he views as his strongest line-up from the start of this evening’s clash.
Caddis and winger Gary Roberts are both available after respective knee and sciatic nerve problems, although trialist Paul Mooney may not be involved due to a slight knock.
“From tomorrow I am going to start thinking someone has to play 60, 65 minutes,” said Di Canio.
“From now I am going to choose the players who start from the beginning and I will choose over time whether someone plays 60 minutes, 65, 70 and then we’ll keep going until the start of the season in this way.”
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