West Ham United Under-14s showed their potential by holding Barcelona to a goalless draw at the Copa de la Amistad tournament in Spain.
The Hammers qualified for the four-team competition alongside Manchester City by finishing as the top two sides in the Barclays Premier League Under-14 National Tournament in Greenwich in January. Then, West Ham beat Manchester United, Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion to top their group, conceding just two goals in four matches.
In Spain, West Ham were again in frugal mood against Barcelona, stifling the attack of the Spanish giants to record a more than creditable 0-0 draw. The following day, perhaps tired by their exploits the previous evening, the Hammers were beaten 3-0 by local side UE Cornella - the club which produced Barcelona and Spain left-back Jordi Alba.
West Ham United Academy youth development coach Mark Phillips said all the players and staff involved in the trip had thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
"We had a regional tournament at Tottenham Hotspur's training ground last October, which we won, and then we won our group at the national tournament at the Greenwich Soccerdome in January," Phillips confirmed.
"We played Barcelona at their training ground and held them to a 0-0 draw and it was an unbelievable experience for the youngsters and coaches. We also went for a tour of the Nou Camp and enjoyed meals with the other clubs involved.
"As coaches, it was fantastic to swap ideas with our counterparts from the other clubs and they were complimentary to us about our style of play."
Phillips was joined on the trip by fellow coaches Matt Smith, Ian Yuill and Darren Smith, as well as Academy head of recruitment Dave Hunt.
West Ham United U14s walk out to face Barcelona
The two captains and match officials just before kick-off
The tournament took place at Barcelona's training ground
The match was a keenly-contested affair
The Hammers also took on local club side UE Cornella
The two teams enjoyed a meal together
The Hammers' U14s enjoyed a tour of the famous Nou Camp