Skipper on a pre-season spent in OosterbeekReading captain Paul McShane has enjoyed having the chance to work hard on preparation for the 2016/17 season during their time in the Dutch town of Oosterbeek.
The squad flew to Amsterdam in the early hours of Monday morning to get involved in their pre-season camp; the skipper has been enjoying his time on the continent so far.
“It’s a decent little spot; the training ground is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel and it’s the sort of place where you can really knuckle down and concentrate,” said McShane. “It’s pretty much training, eating and sleeping.
“It’s been good to get our fitness going, and it’s a bit of a different style with a new manager and staff. There has been a lot of 11 v 11 play and a lot of tactical stuff, so it has been really good.
“We’re practicing on it every day so I think the lads know in their minds what the manager wants. So it has been a really good two and a half weeks back so far.
“There has been a good atmosphere since we’ve come back. The lads have dusted themselves off from last season when it ended disappointingly. We just wanted to move on and now it’s a new era.
“The manager and the coaches have been brilliant since they’ve come in and the atmosphere has been much better. We’ve still got a lot of good players to come back into it – so it’s been a good start.
“The coaching has been really, really good. We applied it in the game against Boreham Wood and I think the lads are getting to know what the manager and coaches want day by day.”
And speaking of that game at Boreham Wood – the pre-season games programme was barely two minutes old before the skipper had his first head-wound of the 2016/17 calendar.
The Irish centre-half put his head in where it hurts – and came out with a busted eyebrow and three stitches to show for it. But he wouldn’t have it any other way!
“I think a helmet now when I’m playing!” laughed the skipper. “All this area on my forehead is just all scar tissue – maybe I can get a permanent bandage.
“But it was one of those where the ball was there to be won and I just went for it – it was the natural thing to do. I only play one way and that’s to give it everything. It was there to be won and I just went for it. It’s all part of the job.”