Goalkeeper discusses the busy preparatory scheduleThe Royals squad have been working tirelessly through pre-season to get themselves fit and in shape to attack the 2016/17 campaign head-on.
A number of first-team players have been busting a gut at our training camp in Oosterbeek in the Netherlands to maximise their preparations for the new campaign. And goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi explained how important this period is for the team.
“It has been brilliant – we have had some fantastic days with the lads and the new manager, and everyone looks happy,” said Ali.
“Everyone is giving everything – it has been tough and hard, but it is all about pre-season. We have to get fit and ready for the start of the season. The way that we have been training and the way the players have been with each other has been great for us going forward.
“Getting back to the fitness levels… it can take a lot of work. It is important to put in hard work on the pitch and to get good rest in between. We have a big season this year and there are some big teams in with us this year. It will be a big challenge for every team. It is always hard, but we hope to make it a better season this year.”
On the flight to Amsterdam on Monday were some new faces – including Danzell Gravenberch and Joey van den Berg, returning to their home country. Fellow goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola also joined up with the squad after joining Reading on Monday. John Swift also linked up with the squad with his new teammates for the first time on Thursday morning.
“It is never easy to be a new player – but I think the new guys have settled in really quick,” he continued. “They seem to really be enjoying themselves here in the camp. All the time, we have to be together in this team. We have a lot of young players who have been great and are working really hard. That can give us great momentum in pre-season and we can take it forward for the start of the season.
“We had a good start with our game against Boreham Wood– the first game is always about fitness levels, and after seven or eight weeks away it isn’t always easy to have our first game. We have another four games until the season starts and every one of them will be very important – and every day is very important.”