A view from one of Dale’s most senior players
Calvin Andrew discusses the social aspect of the changing rooms and the positive impact it can have on the football pitch and on the training ground, as well as pre-season so far…
"Pre-season is always tough – it’s definitely not my favourite time of the year, but it’s so nice to come back in after a couple of months away to see the guys and to be in and around the footballing environment. It really dawns on you after a few days away about how lucky you are to be able to do something that you love.
"Pre-season is really hard work and I can’t stress that enough to supporters. At the moment, we’re going into games on the back of really tough days so your body is always fatigued during this period, but that’s not an excuse not to perform. These games and pre-season training sessions are about doing the right things and getting the running miles under your belt, while getting the feel for football again, all in preparation for the new season. So what we do now, both on and off the pitch, is very, very important.
"Within every good football club, there’s a good working environment and a good relationship between all of the players, and that’s what we’ve got here at Rochdale Football Club. Having that environment all year round is important but it’s particularly important at this time of the season when we are welcoming new additions into the squad. The new players need to settle in as quickly possible so they can communicate effectively with the rest of the team, and that’s where having a positive social environment can really help.
"I know it’s a cliché, but we really do have a good group of lads here. It’s good to be a part of a team where everyone gets on, and I must admit that it’s a really good experience to play in a team like this. If you like the guy that you are playing alongside, you’re always willing to do a little bit more for him. If you’re tired, you know that he’s going to be tired so you’re always willing to give that extra five-percent that you might not know you’ve got left to help get him out of trouble or back him up.
"As I said earlier, communicating effectively is key. Communication is a big part of football, in fact, it’s a big part of any working environment. It’s super important on a matchday, as it is in training, to be able to understand and relay key messages between yourselves – what you want from other players and what they would like from you, as well as what the Gaffer wants from all of us.
"All of the senior players, me included, really understand the manager’s message and what he wants from the team, so it’s our job on the pitch to able to relay his message. It’s good to see the likes of Callum Camps and Jamie Allen really growing into their roles and being able to communicate effectively out there. We’ve got some really good young players coming in to the environment and having multiple players who lead by example can only be a positive."
Jim McNulty penned a 'Manager on the Pitch' piece for the pre-season friendlies matchday programme. Pick up a copy of TVOS on Tuesday night to read what he had to say.