Freddie Ljungberg hammered home the importance of pre-season recently, insisting that it not only helps with moral but belief within the squad – and he’s right.
Speaking to Arsenal’s official website, the legend explained that pre-season isn’t just about physical fitness, it’s about mental preparation too. Okay, maybe Arsenal aren’t the best example of this, considering we beat Chelsea 1-0 in the Community Shield last year and proceeded to lose both Premier League matches against them…but, in general, it’ll instill some positivity among the ranks.
“The main thing in pre-season is to run a lot to get fit, and then play at 100 per cent to avoid injury – that’s the key,” he said.
“It’s also a great opportunity as you need people to bond and learn to know each other a little bit more.
“You’re not just training and shooting home, you can spend some time together, get a coffee maybe. I think it’s really good for team spirit and bonding.”
I actually believe that pre-season is detrimental to physical fitness. I think the majority of the matches are booked in order to sell shirts and appeal to a different demographic i.e. paying customers. We are a company, after all.
Of course, some physical preparation is essential and a few friendly pre-season matches are a must, but traveling to the other side of the world must take its toll, especially when you examine our post-Christmas slump and injury list.
What I do think these trips are good for, however, is team bonding, moral and friendship. Getting the lads to talk about their lives outside of football, have a laugh and experience difference countries together. This is why pre-season is good, in my opinion.