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The winning ways of Dr Telensky and the Lion hearts of AquaCity

A world class centre in Poprad Slovakia produces players for WORLD CLASS teams.

Once little more than a rubbish tip, AquaCity has been transformed into a World Class centre solely due to the vision and Euro multi-million investment of environmental entrepreneur, Dr Jan Telensky.

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Prior to AquaCity being born, Poprad had a run-down swimming pool and neglected saunas on the site that is now AquaCity. A handful of people were employed there with no long-term prospects. Today, the World class centre is proud to provide careers for hundreds of local citizens plus contracts for local companies and their employees, more long-term stability for the city.

AquaCity can boast many achievements – a major one being the State visit of Queen Elizabeth II. The origins of the state visit were put in place in AquaCity at a meeting with team members of the British Embassy. Dr Telensky was personally thanked for his input and support resulting in the State visit.

AquaCity has hosted national teams from around the world and now those who trained in Poprad have appeared on the World Stage.

Today AquaCity is basking in the glory of seeing those it helped trained playing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Dr Telensky’s AquaCity Boys are not just playing there, they in the spotlight of television and radio station around the world to billions tuned into the World Cup.

Dr Telensky said, “It is amazing how a small place in Slovakia can be turned into a training complex that produces world class players.

“I am so proud of those that have worked as a unique team to transform a one-time rubbish dump into an area every citizen of Poprad can be proud of.
“But the story isn’t over yet, we plan even more for Poprad as we continue to provide foreign tourists, via television, radio and the written word, even more information to encourage them to visit our great achievement”.

Three world class players have been singled out, a full list of Manchester United players is also included, to demonstrate that which can be achieved when a forward thinking group of people work in harmony to turn a town’s blight into the Flagship centre for the world to see.

Here are three players selected to play in Russia – Dr Telensky’s AquaCity Boys

Marcus Rashford is an English professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Manchester United. He was born in Wythenshawe, Manchester on 31 October 1997.

Marcus began playing football for Fletcher Moss Rangers at the age of five and joined the Manchester academy system at the age of seven. He was a star striker for the youth team and trained in AquaCity, Poprad, Slovakia in 2013 and 2014.

He was selected by Louis van Gaal for the first-team sub’s bench on 21 November 2015 for a Premier League match against Watford. On 25 February 2016, Marcus was a late addition to the Manchester United starting line-up for their UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg tie against Midtjylland. He impressed on his first-team debut with two goals in the second half of a 5–1 win. His goals made him Manchester United’s youngest ever scorer in European competition, beating a record previously held by George Best. Marcus made his Premier League debut against Arsenal three days later, he again scored twice and provided the assist for the other goal in a 3–2 home victory, making him the third youngest scorer for United in Premier League history after Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck.aqc-logo

On 20 March 2016, he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby, his team’s first away league win over Manchester City since 2012. Aged just 18 years and 141 days, Marcus made his mark as the youngest ever scorer in a Manchester derby in the Premier League era.

He wrapped up the season with 8 goals in 18 appearances, despite only debuting in February, as well as winning the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award. On 30 May, Marcus signed a new contract with United, keeping him at the club until 2020, with an option to extend for a further year.

For the 2016 season, marking his place as part of the senior squad, Marcus was given the number 19 squad number by new manager José Mourinho.

His performances in his first senior season led to calls for him to represent England at UEFA Euro 2016. Manchester United academy coach Nicky Butt dismissed these calls, calling them premature and possibly harmful for the player’s development. However, on 16 May, Marcus was named in Roy Hodgson’s preliminary 26-man squad for the tournament. He became part of England’s Euro 2016 squad less than four months after making his Manchester United debut. On 27 May, he started in a warm-up match against Australia at the Stadium of Light, and scored the opening goal of a 2–1 win after three minutes, becoming the youngest Englishman to score on his international debut.

Marcus scored his first competitive goal for the senior team on 4 September 2017, with the winning goal in England’s 2–1 win over Slovakia in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.

He is a prolific goal scorer and a summary of his scoring record is as follows:

He scored twice in both his first-team debut in the UEFA Europa League (against Midtjylland) and in his first Premier League match in February 2016 (against Arsenal). He also scored in his first Manchester derby match, his first League Cup match and his first UEFA Champions League match. Furthermore, Marcus scored on his England debut in May 2016, becoming the youngest English player to score in his first senior international match.

Marcus is a member of the 23-man England national team squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Adnan Januzaj was born 5 February 1995 in Brussels. He is a Belgian professional footballer who now plays as a winger for Spanish club Real Sociedad and international football for Belgium.

Adnan began his football career with FC Brussels but joined Anderlecht as a 10-year-old in 2005.  He left Anderlecht for Manchester United at the age of 16 in March 2011. He trained with the Manchester United Youth Team in AquaCity, Poprad, Slovakia in 2011 and 2012.

Towards the end of the 2012/13 season, united manager Sir Alex Ferguson promoted Adnan to the first-team squad and he was registered with the number 44 squad number.

He broke into the Manchester United first-team under manager David Moyes during the 2013/14 season his debut, as a substitute, was against Wigan Athletic on 11 August 2013 in the Community Shield. He made his Premier League debut a month later, as a substitute, in a 2–0 home win over Crystal Palace. On 5 October 2013, in what was his first start for the club, Adnan scored twice as United came from behind to claim a 2–1 victory away to Sunderland.

To avert the interest from other clubs, who could have signed him for “minimal compensation” Manchester United signed Adnan on a new five-year contract on 19 October 2013. On 3 December 2013, he was nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, at the time of his nomination, he had played in just ten games for Manchester United. For the start of the 2014/15 season he was allocated the number 11 squad number shirt, previously worn by the recently retired Ryan Giggs.

Adnan struggled for opportunities under Moyes’ successors Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho, and had loan spells at Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland before joining Real Sociedad in July 2017.

Adnan made his full international debut in 2014 and later that year played for Belgium at the World Cup. He was also selected for the 2018 Belgium world cup team and scored a wonder goal against England in the group stages.

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Jesse Ellis Lingard was born in Warrington on 15 December 1992. Jesse is an English professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or as a winger for Premier League club Manchester United and the English national team.

He joined Manchester United’s youth academy at the age of seven and progressed through the age groups. Jesse was part of the Manchester United Youth Team squad who trained in AquaCity,Poprad, Slovakia in 2010. He was part of the Manchester United team that won the 2010/11 FA Youth Cup, before signing a professional contract in the summer of 2011.

Jesse was first included in a senior match day squad on 30 November 2011, in the Cup quarter-finals against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, remaining unused as Sir Alex Ferguson’s team lost 2–1 after extra time He had his only other call-up that season on 4 January 2012, again unused in a 3–0 away Premier League loss to Newcastle United.

He made his senior debut while on loan at Championship side Leicester City in 2012, and also spent time on loan at Championship sides Birmingham City and Brighton & Hove Albion during the 2013/14 season. Jesse made his Manchester United first team debut against Swansea in 2014 before being loaned to Championship side Derby County in February 2015 for the remainder of the season.

He returned to Manchester United and scored his first premier league goal for his home club on 7 November 2015.

Jesse has represented England at under-17 and under-21 levels, before making his senior international debut in October 2016. He scored his first goal for England on 23 March 2018.

Jesie Lingard is a member of the 23-Man England national team squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Not just on the World Class stage but also in the World’s Top-Flight football league, the Premier League, here are more players who have trained in Slovakia, The Little Big Country Centre AquaCity.

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Man of the Mountains – Jesse takes his Lion’s share of Cup victory!

Wat-er success for Jesse Lingard’s Man U training in the mountains!

Harry Kane might have scored the hat-trick as England got their best-ever World Cup win … but staff at the greenest hotel in the world also had a sense of pride as the score was revealed.

The 6-1 trouncing of Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium put the Three Lions into the final16 – and Jesse Lingard big goal was described as a stunner.

It prompted him to do the now-famous Jesse ‘J-Lingz’ – the victory salute he  uses by holding up his fingers to signify a ‘J’ and an ‘L’.

Jesse learned some of the tricks of his trade at AquaCity’s national training centre in Poprad, Slovakia, at the foot of the High Tatras Mountains. He was joined there by youthful colleagues Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck.

Jesse, aged 25, from Warrington, attended the centre and honed his ability to be right where he needs to be … and it paid off as he made what were described as mischievous runs-in waiting for a pass.

But it was down to England forward Marcus, aged 20, from Wythenshawe, Manchester,  to speak confidently after England’s  earlier 2-1 win over Tunisia   – he predicted they could win again when they face Panama on Sunday.

And he was spot on!

Danny also earned himself a place in the hearts of Slovaks when, as a teenage member of Manchester United’s Academy along with the other two, he used the AquaCity national training centre in Poprad to learn the soccer skills which now have him aiming for the top.

Dr Jan Telensky, majority share holder of AquaCity, said: “We are so proud our training facilities which produces world-class players have proved themselves yet again. Good luck in then next stage to Jesse, Marcus and Danny and the entire English squad.”

 

during the Premier League match between XXX and XXX at Old Trafford on May 21, 2017 in Manchester, England.

How AquaCity moves mountains for Manchester United hopefuls

Heroes of British soccer have revealed one of the best-kept secrets of Slovakia  … for the last eight years Manchester United has been sending its young hopefuls there to a specialist mountainside training camp.

Every October Manchester United’s Youth Team spends time in the city of Poprad training at one of the world’s most exciting stadiums, playing ‘friendlies’ against locals and recuperating in the world’s greenest hotel.

Poprad is an extraordinary place, tacked to the foot of the High Tatras mountains and near to the Polish border.

Thirty years ago though it had daunting metaphorical mountains to climb having been abandoned to the remnants of the Velvet Revolution politics.

But people of vision were already making things happen and now Poprad is one of the most important cities in Slovakia. It has become the administrative, economic, cultural and tourism centre for the whole Tatras region.

And at its heart stands AquaCity, once voted the world’s greenest hotel … and this is where Manchester United hopefuls stay while they undergo training regimes against one of the most powerful natural backdrops in Europe.

Former Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs said this: “It is vital in a young players development that they get to gain as many different types of football experience as possible. Because of the training in Poprad they can relate to playing against different opposition, experience new cultures and food, travelling and adapting to new surroundings. The training camp in Poprad allows all this to happen.”

And last week it all paid off in a big way – youth team  players who trained in Poprad were chosen to play against Crystal Palace  when Jose Mourinho   rotated his squad ahead of the Europa League final.. Manchester United won the game 2-0, with Josh Harrop and Paul Pogba scoring the goals.

The story really begins with former car worker  Dr Jan Telensky, his geo-thermal lake 2,000 metres inside the earth – and his belief in cryogenics.  Three little minutes   that can change your life.

He said:  “When I first came to Poprad, I saw a pipe coming up out of the ground. It had breath hot enough to melt your soul. So, I looked into the history of it and pretty soon I realised there was a natural miracle two miles below the earth. An eternal source of power, warmth and health. It’s been there for millions of years and it’ll be there for millions more.

“I decided to harness it, that’s all. The government and the town of Poprad worked with me on it.”

Next door to AquaCity  is a magnificent new football stadium, designated as a Slovak National Training Centre (NTC). It is the only ground in the world to be heated by an underground lake and have an all-weather pitch.

The NTC is where you can watch the Manchester United football’s stars of tomorrow train and play some of Slovakia’s Premier League and other overseas teams for a fraction of the price it would cost at Old Trafford.   There is a Hall of Fame board inside AquaCity with a list of the stars who have played there.

 David Moyes, a former manager at MU who was involved in the training experiment: “This the ideal place for a sports training camp, the fourteen swimming pools and the leisure facililities are enormously popular with our young players.”

And AquaCity  offers all sorts of fitness and enjoyment, not only for professional sportsmen but for families too with pools, massage jets, children’s pools  and water slides,  laser lights to change the color of the water, outdoor thermal pools, blue Sapphire pools, blue diamond pools, and a 50 metre swimming pool.

In the wellness and spa suites there is Vital World, the K-Vital Beauty Centre, the Massage Centre, and the Thai Massage Centre with edible massage treatments such as chocolate, honey and green apples.

Then there is the controversial cryogenics chamber which has been helping sports people and visitors with injuries and ailments.

It is the Big Chill, an oversized deep-freeze which makes you feel wonderful. It works  wonders for the skin and muscles, can boost your immune response, ease chronic pain, heal nerve damage, and improve sporting performance.

And Poprad too  really is a beautiful place to be, sitting as it does on a vast plain leading to the foothills of the perpetually snow-capped Tatras Mountains.

It came into being in the 13th century, when the king of Hungary persuaded German colonists to move to what was nothing more than isolated arable land. Way back then Poprad was just one of more than 20 farming communities dotted across the plains.  It soon garnered importance however, as a main stopping-off point on the trade route between Poland and Hungary.

Another ‘revolution’ took place in 1938 when a military airfield with grass for a runway was built  west of Velko village as World War II loomed. The first real runway wasn’t actually built until 1970.

Poprad Tatry Airport finally came into its own in the early 21st century when it was classed as of International standards.

The 13th century Early Gothic church of St. Egidius in the town square still retains pieces of  wall paintings  dating from the Middle Ages. And then of course there is the Renaissance bell tower built in 1592 with its three original bells. 

On the attack… the Manchester United of tomorrow?

Spectator Sports in Slovakia: Poprad & the Manchester United Connection

Slovakia is better known for its ice hockey than football when it comes to spectator sports. Whilst the national ice hockey side have, for many years, vied with the world’s best, the football achievements are less well known. The Slovak national football team is one of the youngest national football teams in the world, having split from the Czechoslovakia national football team after the dissolution of the unified state in 1993. Slovakia now maintains its own national side that has completed in all major professional tournaments since dissolution. Slovakia has now qualified for two major international tournaments, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2016.

Every October half term for the last six years, Manchester United’s Youth Team (MUYT) has travelled to the High Tatras city of Poprad to train and play against local opposition. And it’s very easy to see why.

Besides the AquaCity resort complex is a magnificent new football stadium, designated as a Slovak National Training Centre (NTC) and undoubtedly one of the best places to play football in Europe.

The development is a continual process and within the next 12 months an additional grass and an artificially surfaced, all weather training pitch will be added. The NTC is where you can watch the Manchester United football’s stars of tomorrow train and play some of Slovakia’s Premier League and other overseas teams for a fraction of the price it would cost at Old Trafford. Since they first visited Poprad in 2010, 19 MUYT players have progressed to the first team and many more, despite not making it with Manchester United, have played for other English premier league teams. Players like Marcus Rashford, now one of soccer’s most talked-about young strikers (especially since his selection for this summer’s Uefa Euro 2016, have been former participants in the AquaCity training programme (there is a Hall of Fame board inside AquaCity with a list of the stars who have played here).

So there’s no longer any denying Slovakia’s link with high-profile football, nor that catching it up here in the Slovak mountains must be one of the sport’s best bargains: Standard tickets cost €1 whilst VIP seats set you back a mere €3 ! (the jagged mountain backdrop is a darned sight more spectacular than the Manchester skyline too!).

The stadium...

The stadium…

But it’s not just the players. The stadium, too, beautifully styled on Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge, is the only one of its kind in the world, as the pitch is geothermally heated – and in a really neat way. The waters that heat AquaCity originate in a huge subterranean lake where the natural water temperature is 50 degrees centigrade. However, before the stadium’s construction, the spa complex had a problem: to cool the waters sufficiently for returning into the earth at the correct temperature so as not to damage ecosystems. Running the water around the stadium (by now it’s cooled to an average 15 degrees) reduces the temperature to exactly the right amount to return it to Mother Nature whilst ensuring one of the planet’s lushest playing surfaces. At least, that was Manchester United’s opinion…

AquaCity, as well as offering annually some of football’s best “been there and seen it first” moments, also – it should be noted – has one of Slovakia’s very best spas, and this in a country very well known for them! More on this HERE

A Quick Guide to the Other Content We Have on Poprad

Places to Go: Poprad’s funky contemporary art gallery in an old power station

Places to Go: Poprad’s lavish Aqua Park

Places to Go: Nine reasons to linger in Poprad

Places to Go/Getting Around: Taking the Mountain Railway into the High Tatras from Poprad

Places to Stay: A cool travel-friendly B&B in Spišská Sobota, Poprad

Places to Eat & Drink: Poprad’s trendy burger joint

Places to Eat & Drink: Poprad’s dignified Café La Fée

Places to Eat & Drink: Poprad’s Coolest Wine Bar

Places to Eat & Drink: Poprad’s gourmet chocolatier

Arts & Culture: Dedicated traditional Czech & Slovak music radio station now based in Poprad

Getting Around: London to Poprad Flights

Getting Around: The Poprad to Ždiar to Zakopane (Poland) bus

Top Ten Medieval Towns in Slovakia

 

Poprad has undeniably one of the best backdrops of any city in Eastern Europe.

Poprad has undeniably one of the best backdrops of any city in Eastern Europe.