I have to say it was a big shock when that water sprinkler on the pitch came to life while I was perfectly positioned above it. To be fair to call it a water sprinkler does not convey the sudden rush of water that engulfed me. Fortunately carrying a few too many pounds did help protect the camera from any water and it took a full two hour training session before I was mostly dried off.
One of the good things about being with the team on a pre-season is that they cannot escape the media team so there are plenty of video interviews from this week in Spain.
Everyone was down for breakfast at 8.30am ahead of a gentler training session before this evenings more intensive workout which we will have some video from. The squad were out on the field by 10am as John Lucas put them through a light session and then some running with the ball.
It was a shorter than normal session but it also included a workout in the pool which has the useful side effect of helping the players keep cool in the hot conditions.
There’s been a real togetherness in the camp and everyone has looked fit and are very positive for the season ahead. Despite the hard work, and it really is tough going physically, you can see they are keen to get the season underway.
After lunch you’re hard pressed to find any players walking around and it’s not because they’ve gone off sightseeing, it’s because they need to rest and recover from each training session and especially when faced with a hard physical two hour workout in 30ºC plus heat this evening.
This evening’s session really was a tough one on the players and only being here can you truly understand just how difficult working at such an intensity under the glaring sun is. Despite the punishing heat the players gave everything to keep the high tempo up for the two hours.
Particular attention this evening was put on sharpening their reflexes and making quick decisions in keeping possession and passing the ball. Overloading, where a smaller team in terms of numbers tries to contain a larger team helps put pressure on the players to work harder and better in varying situations and there was some outstanding movement and skill on display from experienced players and the younger ones in the squad.
Everyone looks very fit and experienced campaigners like Hassell and Foster have said this group of players are the fittest they have seen. There’s been a tremendous feeling of team spirit and in the training sessions you can hear and see players spurring one another on to achieve and progress. It’s great to watch and certainly fills you with optimism and excitement for the season ahead.
After a well deserved evening meal most go off for a walk and it is generally an early night for most in readiness for a 7.45am start tomorrow, but there’s still time for a bit of fun which tonight seemed to be trying to put off any player during a video interview. Quite funny but does make the editing a challenge!