Jón Daði Böðvarsson linked up with the Royals once again on Wednesday morning, having been part of Iceland’s World Cup adventure this summer.
The forward was in the 23-man squad that went to Russia – but now he’s back amongst the Royals setup as preparations continue in Austria.
“I travelled yesterday from Iceland to Heathrow and stopped overnight at the airport, and then I was on a flight this morning,” said Böðvarsson. “It’s great to be back here and into a routine, and to be able to prepare myself with my teammates for what will hopefully be a good season with Reading.
“I had two and a half weeks off after the game against Croatia, so it was important to get some breathing space. Physically, but also mentally, it’s good to get a little break from time to time. I spent it with my wife and had a great time, and had a chance to relax as well.
“Also I kept myself fit so I won’t be far away from fitness from the guys here who have been training like crazy!
“But I need to get straight to it. It isn’t long until the season starts and I need to get some football in the body. I’ve been away for a bit so I need to get the body used to it again. I’ll be quick to get back into it and match fit, and to do my best for the club.”
The boundaries have been redrawn for the 300,000-strong nation – that’s to be relished!
“It was a great experience and something I wouldn’t have ever expected as a child,” he reflected. “We were so far off it as a national team back then, so it was a dream that didn’t seem achievable.
“Being there was a dream come true. I’m just grateful for having this chance in my career, the short career that you have as a footballer.
“It was amazing to be in the starting XI against Nigeria and to play a World Cup game. It’s a memory I’ll always be able to have in my mind, and a great experience.
“With more success, there’ll be more pressure and expectation. But the Iceland squad is experienced in that matter now and know how to deal with that. It shows that the team and the country are doing something right. Success is a long journey!”