Matty Done is delighted to be getting a full pre-season under his belt, after missing out this time last year.
The 29-year-old was still on the books of his former club Sheffield United, but didn’t take full part in their pre-season schedule, ahead of his move back to Dale.
He only arrived two days before the start of the 2017/18 season, and is relishing having the chance to play a full part this time around.
“It was disappointing last season not to get going early, and that was just down to the circumstances at the time,” said Done.
“I wanted to get a pre-season in, but we just couldn’t get things over the line. It took a while to catch up last season.
“I’ve had a great summer [this year] but the gym was never far away, I was always in there over the close season!
“I had to get ready for this, because I know having worked previously with the Gaffer how hard it is physically in pre-season, so I kept myself in shape over the summer.
“I’m delighted to be getting in a full five, six weeks of running, games and fitness before the first game of the season.”
The squad arrived in Tenerife late on Sunday night and had a double session the following day. Done knows the trip is an integral part of the campaign.
“There’s nothing like getting in amongst the squad, coming away to facilities like this and training two times a day.
“You feel more of it, you feel fitter and you feel stronger. It’s a long, hard season, especially with the way that we play. There’s a lot of running and pressing all over the pitch, so getting six weeks in is vital.
“We all feel fit and strong and tired! It’s been a long few days, with travelling yesterday and then a double session today, but it’s been a good day.
“We did a lot of shape-based work in the morning but still got the metres in the legs, and then this afternoon we’ve done a bit of running and small sided games, with an emphasis on what the Gaffer wants.”
The footballs were out on the first day of pre-season and were on the first day of training in Tenerife, which Done and his teammates were happy about!
“It’s the case with most footballers these days, they prefer the footballs out straight away, instead of doing the six o’clock runs.
“As the Gaffer said yesterday when we arrived, we won’t be doing those runs, it doesn’t help. A session with the balls, like today, is harder than any run you can do.”
The annual trip to Tenerife also allows the group to become closer together, especially in the case of any new additions to the squad, which has been the case again this year.
“They’ve settled in brilliantly. There’s a few quiet ones, but some great characters, along with the Gaffer and the staff.
“They’re great people to have with us and they’re fully behind what everyone here is trying to do. They’ve bedded in straight away.
“It’s nice to come away for a week to get to know them and for them to get to know us, so it’s great for team spirit.”
Dale’s first pre-season friendly came before the trip to Tenerife – a 3-0 win over Stalybridge Celtic – in a change to previous seasons, but one he felt worked well.
“It was good. It’s different to what we’ve done in previous years. It was more match related, and we felt good after a very hard week.
“Normally after the first pre-season game you can feel a little bit leggy, but I felt good. We had a good week, and now the balls are out straight away on the first day in Tenerife, so it’s been hard but enjoyable.”
One player who stood out in that win over Stalybridge was 16-year-old Dan Adshead, who Done believes will play a big part this coming season.
“I didn’t come here [Tenerife] last season, but even though he’s been around the first team he’s still only a scholar.
“Watching him train, he’s not out of place and he’s going to be a big part of the team this season.”