Obviously, some of the players have been back a week or so, so how is that going?
“Well, pre-season is always a fresh start, a new start with new opportunities to look forward to the season. Some of the players have just started their holiday so we know it’s a depleted squad but it gives the young kids a taste of what it is like to have a proper pre-season with top professionals like Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata in the first team, Lee Grant, Tom Heaton is back. They’ve done it so many times. Mason, Aaron, Axel are first-team players who will bring these boys along and it’s a good opportunity for them.”
We have a new member of the coaching staff on board, can you tell us more about him?
“We’ve been fortunate enough to convince Eric Ramsay to come and join the best club in the world and in the country. He’s a very highly rated coach who is going to be working with individuals and in charge of set-plays as well. We’re excited. He’s young, fresh and with new ideas, an innovative coach we know from before, Kieran knows him really well from Loughborough so we’re very pleased with that.”
We’ve seen some young players joining the club and some loans have already been set up…
“Yeah, of course. We’ve got six weeks together before the league starts and a couple of training camps here in the UK. It’s the most sensible thing, we felt, being in and round here. You don’t get the, how do you say, aggravation of are we green, red or amber? It’s just the way the world works at the moment. The young kids will definitely be part of the Derby game and then we’ve got another couple of games coming up and they can be part of it. Gradually, more and more players from the Euros will join in. They’ll get a taste of some football. Then roundabouts early August, some will go on loan. We’ve already lined up a few and some of them are still in discussions between us and the players about where is the best place to go.”
Training camps, even if we’re usually on tour, are they a great way of team bonding?
“It always is and, as I said, loads of young boys have not been on a tour, well a camp, with players and live and eat together all the time and do different things together. They will learn like Juan, Nemanja, Lee and Tom – the more experienced ones will be the leaders of that group. They’ll take charge and I am sure there will be singing…”
Ah the initiation ceremonies! We’re kicking off the first game away to Derby and all the games are on MUTV, before coming back to Old Trafford so how excited are you by that?
“Hopefully, we’ll see as many as our supporters away from home as well, maybe Derby and QPR, and then at Old Trafford against Brentford and then we’ve got Everton. Big games, important games for us to prepare for the first game then, it’s like we get the first chunk of work in and then we start preparing for the first game. Then as long as we keep [going] gradually, at least until the first international break, we’ve got to look at pre-season and start the season better than we did last season. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb as it was a difficult start. Hopefully, this year, we’ve cracked the gradual improvement.”