West Ham United Development Squad coach Ian Hendon welcomed his players back for pre-season training on Monday.

The young players were in a week earlier than normal as they prepare to fly to Russia in early July for a prestigious pre-season tournament, the VTB Lev Yashin Cup in Moscow.

In order to make sure the squad are in top condition to take part in the competition and the followinggames they have back here in England, Hendon called the players back  to start off the 2012/13 campaign in earnest.

"We are back a bit earlier than what we would normally," Hendon confirmed, "but we want to be properly prepared for what is a big tournament which is only in a couple of weeks or so. It will be a busy pre-season for us and we want to get off on the right foot and be in a good position fitness-wise."

The players arrived back at the club's Chadwell Heath training ground on Monday morning to get their new Macron training gear and then underwent a number of fitness tests.

Hendon said: "They were put through it with lots of tests to look at their body fat, mass and their weight, flexibility, things like that. When they went off for a break at the end of last season, they were all tested then and given a set of targets for the summer and these tests will determine that they have kept themselves in good condition while they have been away and not training.

"The results of the tests will be known in the next few days and then we will know whether they have done as they have been told! A bit later on in the week, we will do some ball work and training. They were all a bit quiet when they first came in, in the morning, but they soon became their usual noisy selves, so all back to normal!

"It is nice to be back, the boys were in good spirits and now we knuckle down to work hard and make sure we are prepared for the games ahead."

The development squad are in Moscow to take part in the tournament between 12 and 15 July, which will be hosted by Russian Premier League club Dynamo Moscow.

The Hammers are one of six teams taking part, with Dynamo, Spanish club Malaga and the Mexican Under-19 national team being among the others.

On their return, there are plenty of domestic fixtures to allow everyone vital match action before the beginning of the new season, including games with Ryman League Premier Division side Thurrock (21 July) and Blue Square Bet Premier new boys Dartford (24 July). Welling will be the opposition (28 July) to see out the month before two more games at AFC Wimbledon and Northampton Town (4 August and 7 August respectively) the following month.

Supporters can watch a special back-to training interview with Ian Hendon on West Ham TV later this week.

For ticket information for the Development Squad pre-season fixtures, keep an eye on whufc.com as well as @whufc_official on twitter and the club's official Facebook page.

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