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Clarke's plaudits for terrific Thailand tour

12 July 2015

Royals boss gives assessment after week in Far East

Royals boss Steve Clarke sat down in the air-conditioned comfort of the hotel lobby after what can only be described as a gruelling final training session for the players out in Bangkok.

The squad fly home to Heathrow this evening but after the relative rest and relaxation of Koh Samui, the squad were tested to their limits in the searing heat of the Supachalasai Stadium this morning.

"The boys had a couple of rest days out in Koh Samui, so this session was just to get them back on they know that pre-season is very much underway," Clarke exclusively told

"It was a long session as we only do one session today. And the heat this morning - it was probably the hottest it has been! So that just added to it. But it was a good session, good quality and a lot of hard work."

Ice cold towels, water bottles emptied every five minutes, ice cubes massaging the backs of players' necks - training hard in this heat was tough!

"You have to be very sensible between every exercise. Obviously there were a lot of fluids going on board - if you'd seen the amount of empty drinks bottles at the end! They certainly sweated a lot out. But the recovery is important.

"And yet, even as we got towards the end of the session, which was well over a hundred minutes, all the lads were still looking strong which is good to see.

"They're all professionals. They know they have to work and this was a good opportunity to get in a really good session of work. They can have a long rest on the long flight back. This was just a chance to put a little bit more fuel in the tank."

The final training session brings the curtain down on a week in Thailand that has been perfectly run and, as a result, thoroughly enjoyed.

"This has been one of the best organised trips I've ever been on," Clarke said. For a man who has travelled the world with some of the top clubs in the country throughout his playing and coaching days, that is certainly saying something.

"Massive compliments to the owners, especially Narin and Tiger who have looked after us out here. Lady Sasima had a big input in terms of the wonderful hotel we stayed in in Koh Samui - so the owners did fantastic for us. It's been great.

"And as I say it has been really well organised...Patty who was in charge of the logistics out here, Patty and her team deserve a medal. I've been away on a lot of tours like these and football players can be quite demanding. But it's been excellent from start to finish. Compliments to everybody involved."

And the people of Thailand have lapped up every moment of the Royals on tour. "We had a great welcome when we came off the plane and it hasn't stopped since we got here.

"Always happy, always smiling, the people can't do enough for you. The have been very involved with the team, wanting pictures and autographs from all the players all the time. They've got a great enthusiasm for football here in Thailand and hopefully this trip has given us a few more supporters in this part of the world."

And perhaps most importantly, the Royals leave with a fit and healthy squad in good shape to go into pre-season back on home turf. When the only injury to report from a pre-season tour is a small cut to the head suffered by Andrija Novakovich in training on Wednesday morning, the manager can only be happy.

"Cut heads don't count," he smiled. "It was just a little nick and the surgeon made a really good job of it, a really good repair. So yes, it's been good. We leave here with less injuries than we arrived with, which is great.

"Orlando is almost ready to join the group, Pavel is back in full training, Hal Robson-Kanu is back in full training, so as well as getting the work in and playing a really good game the other night, we've managed to clear up all the little knocks and niggles that we came with.

"When we get back, we should have almost everyone fit and available. Hopefully Simon Cox will be ready to join us, Jake Cooper not too far away, so slowly but surely we're getting our squad together."

And pre-season has only just begun. "We land early Monday morning. It's a long flight back so we'll give the players Monday off to recover and give them a chance to say hello to their families again.

"Then back in Tuesday morning and off we go again. The plan is to do four double sessions and then we have a behind closed doors friendly at the weekend.

"I know the supporters will be getting quite keen to see the team out on the pitch, but we need one more game behind closed doors and after that we'll be ready to show ourselves to the public."

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