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.”

105985215 freddie ljungberg of the chicago fire paces gettyimages
CARSON, CA – OCTOBER 23: Freddie Ljungberg #8 of the Chicago Fire paces the ball on the attack in the second half of their MLS match against Chivas USA on October 23, 2010 in Carson, California. The Fire defeated Chivas USA 4-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

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.