The new Premier League season is almost upon on us and we, as a team, are all looking forward to getting our campaign underway at Crystal Palace this weekend.
The opening day is what we have been working towards since we returned for pre-season training at the start of July. Over the past six weeks we have trained and played matches in Kenya, Switzerland and Germany (twice) – we have prepared well, there is an excitement amongst the group and we all cannot wait for the serious action to get started.
As with every club, over the summer months some players leave and others join. We have welcomed seven new signings to the club, all of whom bring additional quality to the talent that we already have within the squad.
The return of Andre Gomes on a permanent basis from Barcelona following a productive year on loan was a massive boost, a fantastic signing for the club. Everyone who watched our games last season could see what he adds to our midfield, especially driving forward with the ball.
Fellow midfielder Fabian Delph has joined from Manchester City and brings experience of winning things – he was tough to play against so it will be nice to have him in our team this season! Goalkeeper Jonas Lossl has settled into the squad fantastically well since moving from Huddersfield and, in the final week of the transfer window, midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin, striker Moise Kean, defender Djibril Sidibe and winger Alex Iwobi all joined us, too, to add extra depth and quality to the squad.
We are excited to play alongside these players and it is good for the morale of the team when you see top players being recruited. It is good for competition as they are all determined to make an impact.
These new signings, of course, add to what we already have at the club, players like Seamus Coleman who is the Republic of Ireland captain, Lucas Digne, who has a wand of a left foot and won the Club’s Player of the Year award last season, Jordan Pickford, who is England’s first-choice goalkeeper, and Michael Keane, who is one of the first names on our team sheet.
There’s also Richarlison, a fantastically skilful forward who gives the team an extra dimension with his attacking flair. He scores goals and works incredibly hard for the team. With the summer he has had – winning the Copa America with Brazil – he will be on a high and hopefully he can build on that success during his second season with the club.
As with every year, you always aim to improve and the team’s consistency will be important to us achieving that. We started last season well but there was a period of five or six games where we picked up just one or two points and the other teams around us pulled away.
The manager, Marco Silva, is asking for quality and hard work from the team. He’s a great coach who demands a lot from his players and, as with every manager, he wants his players to play for the team. It’s important for us to focus on these things and make sure we start the season like we finished the previous one – we collected 17 points from our last eight league matches in 2018/19 – because continuing that momentum will be a big factor for us.
Personally, I’m looking to build on my own performances last season – that has always got to be the aim. Just before the first game of the season, I normally write a few things down, targets for the year, so you’ll have to ask me at the end of this season whether I have reached them or not!
The football club is moving in the right direction and the ambition shown with the plans for the new stadium is also hugely exciting. The designs were revealed a couple of weeks ago and, just prior to that, the squad were given a first glimpse of the proposed plans. What we saw was fantastic and it certainly created a buzz in the dressing room.
It’s evident that the club is moving in the right direction and, as we enter the new season, there is every reason to be optimistic about what can be achieved during the next 10 months.
Know more about Sport360 Application