Some players returned early to the Benton training grounds yesterday from their summer break, so they could undergo various fitness and strength tests, to ascertain how strong and fit they are at the moment.
James Perch – points the way for all players
Players returning included newly married Mike Williamson, James Perch, Rob Elliot, Dan Gosling, Nile Ranger, Danny Simpson and Mehdi Abeid.
We all know James Perch – the great Perchinho - who apparently was even born in Brazil, and may get that call up before the World Cup 2014 from the former World Champions?
And James of course played just great in the second half of the season, at both center-back, defensive midfield and full-back, to prove he’s an excellent utility player.
That was after making an ignominious start to pre-season last summer at this time, when he didn’t even make the American tour.
The lads that reported yesterday were all in good spirits, and the Benton training ground fields looked in superb condition.
The lads were subjected to some body fat tests and medical examinations, that measure various fitness and strength levels of all players – and it’s all very high tech these days at Newcastle.
Perchinho talked to the local press corps:
“I always prepare for the worst. I prepare for the horrible runs and if it’s not that, it’s a bonus for me.” “It’s a massive, massive part of the season that you have. I’ve missed a couple of the pre-seasons in my career and the football season after hasn’t gone the way I’d like it.
“You pick up little niggles here and there and I think to have a good season you have to complete the pre-season first. That’s the main aim for the club, to get through pre-season pretty much injury-free.” “Everyone’s come in all right, although a few people have enjoyed the summer, I’ll say that, which is fair enough.”
“Pre-season is a time to get fit, and that’s what we intend to do. The banter started flying as soon as I walked back through the door, getting stick off the masseur, all the usual banter which makes you feel like you’ve never been away.” “They sent us a program through the post, it didn’t get much use if I’m being honest with you.”
“I do my own thing, whether the other lads stuck to theirs I’m not sure. It’s basically eating the right things, drinking the right things, doing a little bit of exercise here and there and coming back in as good a shape as you can, really.”
“It’s good to see everyone’s faces again. You do miss it when you’ve been away for a short period of time and you do want to get back and see everyone again.” “You could say we didn’t want the season to end but after the season we had, putting so much effort into finishing fifth, the lads needed the break.”
“It is good to get away and get some sun and to recharge the batteries. “Now the hard works is going to begin though.”
Perch had a holiday in both Dubai and New York this summer, and he arrived back from NYC last Monday, and would have experienced some of the heat wave that hit the east coast over the last several days, with temperatures here in Raleigh hitting 105 degrees F.
James will know that all he has to do next season is train hard and impress manager Alan Pardew, who has made it clear that whoever you are in the squad, if you play well you will get your chance, and be kept in the side.
We hope James continues where he finished off in May, and push for a first team position, maybe at full back.
He will need to still improve if that is going to be the case next season, but he knows that’s the opportunity for him, whoever Newcastle bring in this summer.
That’s just one of the things Alan Pardew has instilled in his players since he arrived a short 18 months ago, and Alan has been simply a revelation as Newcastle manager – and long may that continue.