No Payne no gain

Midfielder Josh Payne has spoken about the intense training schedule the West Ham United players are working to during their pre-season tour in Austria.

After arriving at Monday lunchtime the team got straight into the rhythm of the trip with an early evening workout before retiring for an early night. They were up early the next day for a double training session in the morning and afternoon as well as compulsory warm-downs in the swimming pool afterwards.

"It's been tough," 18-year-old Payne said. "The boys are working hard. It's been quite hot and humid and we've been doing quite a bit of running and lots of ball work so it's hard work.

"We've been training in the morning then we come back to rest. We ride our bikes to and from training and then we go back for training at 6 o'clock and then come back, have dinner, sleep and then do the same again the next day.

"We do a bit in the pool after each session but that's it. It's not like a holiday, it's all hard work which is good. It's what we're all here for."

After impressing in a first-half run-out in the 2-1 win at Grays Athletic on Sunday, Payne appeared as a second half substitute for 1-1 draw  with local side SVL Flavia Solva on Wednesday afternoon.

"I played the first 45 minutes at Grays and it was a tough game but I got a lot of fitness out of the game so it was decent."

West Ham's pre-season preparations will now step-up another gear when they face German Cup holders Werder Bremen on Saturday in Bad Waltersdorf, where Payne expects some of the international players rested for the Flavia Solve fixture to figure.

"Werder Bremen is the big game and I think we'll have a few senior lads come down for the experience so we'll work towards that game and see what happens."

With four matches in total and double training sessions for those not playing in the games, fitness is clearly the priority for the trip. Payne believes, however, that the tour will offer more than just physical benefits to the squad.

"During the trip I would like a lot of fitness and minutes on the pitch and games under my belt. But it's also a good laugh and a chance for some bonding off the pitch. It's good to go away, especially in the weather we've got here as well."