The first day back in training can be a gruelling one for many players after a summer of relaxation, but it’s been a summer of sport for James McArthur who explained what helped him return to Christopher Park ready to start work for the new season:
He said: “International duty meant my season lasted a bit longer this year, and after that finished I probably got around three weeks to relax before training started again which is just enough for me to be honest.
“I’m one of those players who likes to keep myself occupied in the close-season period; I play squash, tennis, badminton, golf or anything really that keeps me active – I don’t like sitting around waiting.
“Mentally it keeps me fresh and from a physical point-of-view it makes the first day of training a little bit easier.”
It was also a chance for the Scotland international to meet his new manager who he explained he was delighted to hear had taken charge of the club during the close-season period and who he believes will help bring success to the club:
“I was really happy when I heard the news. He’s someone who’s done really well in the game and from what I heard from people I knew that had worked with him it all sounded really positive.
“After meeting him today I’m really looking forward to working with him in the future and I think he and the club will have a good partnership.”
As for the training itself, McArthur admitted the work was tough but that it has only whetted his appetite for the new season to kick off, explaining:
“The first session was hard and there was a lot of running involved, but you need that, you need your core strengths in place for the next step of pre-season and it gives us an indication overall of where we are fitness-wise and where we need to get to.
“But I’m really looking forward to this season so much. There’s a lot to be excited about and so many new challenges for us to test ourselves against.
“The tail-end of last year was disappointing of course, but looking at what’s in front of us really excites me and I just can’t wait to kick the season off.”
Chris McCann, Stephen Crainey and Thomas Rogne met up with their new team mates for the first time, and McArthur gave his first impressions of the new boys, saying:
“The new boys who have come in have some experience of this division and have mentioned how much of a grind it can be at times in the Championship, but that’s the challenge we have to meet head on and I’m ready for it.
“I know Stephen Crainey through the Scotland camp and as well as being a very good footballer he’s also a really nice guy so he’ll fit in here well.
“As for Chris McCann, I’ve always thought he was a really good player, from seeing him help Burnley get into the Premier League and the games he played in the top flight, you could see the talent he has so I’m made up to have him here which I think is also an indication of the manager’s ambition.
“Thomas is a top guy, hard-working and from what we did with the ball today you can see he’s a really talented player who I’m sure is going to bring real strength to the defence this season.”