New arrival Jack Iredale was the first of United's squad to face the gruelling 'welcome back, now let's a do an interview about how tough pre-season is' trauma on Thursday morning and he confirmed that he was actually looking forward to what is about to come minutes before heading off to the gym to get on with it.
“I haven’t felt nervous, to be honest,” he said. “The boys have been really good and made me feel comfortable, and I’ve just been itching to get started ever since I signed, so I’m glad we’re finally back.
“It doesn’t matter how hard you work over the summer, pre-season is always tough. The gaffer has talked a lot about how fit he wants us to be and the way he wants to play, so I think this one will probably be the toughest one I’ve done, but I feel ready."
“In terms of getting ready, I think it did help that I signed so early," he told us. "I always want to get my future sorted as quickly as possible, and doing that meant I was in a good position to go away with a programme the strength and conditioning coach gave me so I could work towards getting myself prepared for pre-season.
“I've been looking forward to getting back and playing football because of that, but I wouldn’t say I’ve been looking forward to the running! That’s part and parcel of the game, you’ve got to put the hard yards in during pre-season to make sure you’re ready once the season comes around."
And with the manager placing a lot of emphasis on fitness, he told us: “The fitter we all are coming into the season, the more physically and mentally able we’re going to be.
"The football comes hand-in-hand with the fitness. I know we’re going to the sand dunes on Saturday but I’ve done that before, I’m used to the sand back home so hopefully I’ll manage that one. I’m not sure that will actually help me out with how much I’m actually going to have to run, but we’ll see."
“A big part of pre-season is getting to know the rest of the lads," he added. "When you’re a new player coming into a new changing room you don’t really know what to expect to start with.
"I met a few of the lads on testing day and I’ve now met all of them. It’s a really good environment to be in and I’m looking forward to it.
“I think there will be a bit of competition as we go through pre-season because, as a pro, you want to be the best at whatever you do. When you’re doing strength testing or running, you want to win, it doesn’t matter what it is.
“We all want to be in the team when the Crawley game comes around, so we’ll be doing everything we possibly can during pre-season to make sure we’re in the team.”
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