With only thirty-two days left until the Premier League kicks off again, the Villa management and playing staff returned to Bodymoor Heath yesterday to begin their rigorous training regime to get the players into shape and back to full fitness.
This is quite an important pre-season for many reasons. First of all, this is Tim Sherwood’s first pre-season as a manager. Even though he’s been through countless pre-seasons as a player, this will be his first time leading a team through a busy schedule before a season.
Ray Wilkins, the former Chelsea and QPR assistant manager/coach, was appointed by Tim Sherwood as his number two and is now there to oversee things. His appointment really can have a positive effect: Wilkins’ experience could prove to be vital to a successful season as his knowledge and wisdom can only help Sherwood and his team fulfil the expectations of the fans and the manager himself.
Having a full, decent pre-season could make a world of difference to any player playing professional football. Not only is it designed to bring players back to speed following a holiday but it helps with sharpness, regaining focus and could also mean a fresh start for players who might have struggled to perform in the previous campaign. Missing pre-season games could mean that when a player eventually returns to competitive football he’ll be playing catch up and it would take him even more time to get back into the swing of things.
Yesterday, the official Aston Villa Football Club website team posted a video showing the players and management returning to training, with the players being put through their paces. You can watch the video below:
It was good to see that the players had smiles on their faces and that the mood in the camp looks positive. There were some notable absentees, with Christian Benteke and Brad Guzan missing due to being given extra time off because of their international duties. Ron Vlaar was also missing but that was to be expected as he is seemingly a free agent now.
What was great to see was Fabian Delph returning of his own accord, despite also being granted an extra week off by the management team due to his international involvement. Although there is considerable speculation from media sources about the England international’s future, Delph looked in great shape and was in a good mood as he was training. He certainly didn’t look like a player who’s about to leave the club.
It was also good to see players like Gary Gardner in the mix as I feel it’s time for him to finally show the Villa faithful that he can fulfil his potential. I am sure that many people will also be happy to see the forgotten man Carles Gil in good spirits as well, as the Spaniard was also seen training with the rest of the squad.
The team will head off to sunny Portugal next week for a training camp that will involve friendlies against Fulham and Sporting Braga. After that, the team will head back to England and will commence the warm-up games. Below is a list of the games:
- July 21st – Swindon Town – County Ground, Swindon (7.45p.m.)
- July 25th – Walsall – Bescot Stadium, Walsall (3p.m.)
- July 28th – Wolverhampton Wanderers – Molineux, Wolverhampton (7.45p.m.)
- August 1st – Nottingham Forest – City Ground, Nottingham (3p.m.)
The Nottingham Forest game will signal the end of pre-season as the Villans will travel to Bournemouth on Saturday August 8th to start the 2015-2016 season, which will hopefully be one without the threat of relegation.