Bailey blog eight - Training camp reflections
- Thu 19 Jul 2012, 5:30PM
- Posted by Chris Bailey
Pre-season training camps are strange places to be around with contrasting vibes and emotions on view on a daily basis.
Always there is an air of 'first day back at school' and animated discussions and questions about how the summer was spent, where, and who with.
There is also the instant camaraderie and friendship amongst the star names and the aspiring youngsters.
All team sports foster that but winning a Premier League title takes it to a new level. These players are part of an elite and exclusive band.
But there is also, not very far from the surface, a competitive edge - the knowledge that catching the manager’s eye at this time of the year could well be the difference between spending the season on the fringes or at centre stage in the full glare of the spotlight.
Sometimes tackles have that additional bite and the running is half a yard faster. Such is the way of pre-season for this is where the hard yards are pumped into the legs and a mentality infused into the brain that will sustain the best teams through the back end of summer and into a long winter.
If you are not a player, coach, or backroom staff member then knowing the codes that professional footballers live by is very important. Common sense helps. There is little to be gained asking a player for an interview straight after a hefty training session or popping up everywhere they go.
Good eyes and good ears are essential to the in-house media team armoury but so are a selective memory and the ability to self-edit at a moment’s notice.
Here at mcfc.co.uk we are blessed thanks to the club’s attitude to the website, citytv, and social media. The hierarchy gets the need; the players get the need, and so too boss Roberto Mancini who allows us fantastic access which is so important in taking fans behind the scenes and bringing them the pictures, videos and stories they want to see and read.
It is a privilege to be allowed so close and one we are careful not to abuse. No player (except the subject of the diary) is asked to do more than one interview per trip and we try to give them as much notice as possible.
In the end it leads to trust and understanding and the kind of frank conversations like the one I had with David Platt earlier this week.
The coach was in buoyant mood talking about how his young son plays the QPR game over and over again on his computer and how he himself had so much stick from his mates about his impromptu run from the dugout when the Aguero’s winner went in.
There is a lot of strategy involved
He was also frank about the development and acquisition of young players especially with so many of them being at the pre-season camp.
"The development of the young players has to have a platform, there has to be a way of marrying the younger players in with the seniors over a period of time. There is a lot of strategy involved," he said.
We have a team with great foundations and that has stacks of ability in it but we have to add to it every season if we can. The strategy has to be in place so that when we have to replace key players in future because of age there is a natural possession.
But even then you have to understand that it is impossible to replace like for like. The new players coming through might necessitate a change in the style of play of the team.
What I am saying is that there is a lot more to it than simply sitting down and saying 'buy him, him and him' there has to be a vision of what will be needed in years to come to keep this club successful."
Players had some down time on Wednesday afternoon after their post-match warm down session and spent it in various ways.
A little 'birdie' informed me (well Carlos actually) that he shot 41 for the nine (his handicap is 13) and that he took the honours ahead of his countryman and the Dutch ace who had the excuse of being questioned by Les Chapman for #askNigel only minutes before they teed off.
Thursday it was back to full work with Roberto and the coaches setting up three tough, separate shifts for defence, midfield and attack.
Then there was a gym session for all and work with the fitness coaches before lunch and a second full stint in the afternoon.