Chadwell Chatter

Hello everyone,

Well, we are back in pre-season training and the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season will be upon us before we all know it!

It was a beautiful day at Chadwell Heath on Thursday, with the sun blazing down, the banter flying around and everyone in high spirits.

I must admit it does come around very quickly and you do ask yourself when you get in 'Where has that summer gone?' but once you come back with the group of lads we've got, it's brilliant.

It's great to be back and to see everyone. We've got all that hard work ahead and look forward to it. It's going to be hard work for the next six or seven weeks but that's what you expect and it's what is expected of us.

While we will be playing matches and obviously want to win them, pre-season is about more than just performances and results.

What we've got to do is just make sure we go through this pre-season, and I say it every year, without injuries and we stay strong. We get stronger and we get physically and mentally fitter as the pre-season goes on and as soon as we get to August 16 we want to hit the ground running - that is the be all and end all.

The major thing is trying to staying away from those injuries and that will be a massive thing for us this pre-season.

We will continue that hard work in France when we get there on Friday morning for our week-long training camp, that's for sure.

A lot of emphasis has been put on the plan to play more entertaining football this season but I think, at the end of the day, as long as we're winning games, that's the be all and end all and when you're winning games you're going to be attacking teams and scoring goals.

Last year, the most disappointing thing was we had 14 clean sheets and we just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net.

If we had put the ball in the back of the net a few more times, we would have been a lot higher in the league and we would have had a lot happier camp, but that wasn't to be. I think a lot of that was down to the fact that we had a lot of injuries throughout the year.

I think you will see some tweaks, but I think more and more it will be the fact that if we start putting the ball in the onion bag, there is going to nobody complaining.

We have taken on Teddy Sheringham and one journalist asked if I was looking forward to working with him because we are similar types of players - he is a lot better than me, put it that way!

That said, I'm going to be trying to pick his brains to see what he is thinking. I've got my own thoughts, but it is fantastic for me that I will have someone like that who has got the experience he's got, all the World Cups, the trophies, league titles, everything he has done.

With him playing until after the age of 40 and me coming into my early 30s now, it's massive that I've got someone like him who I can bounce things off and who can help me become a better player.

He can help us all because he was such a talented footballer - we would be stupid not to listen to him when he does talk and wants to help you.

As well as Teddy, we have welcomed two new players into the squad in Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate.

I'm looking forward to getting to know them both and seeing what they can do on the pitch. We will see more of them over the next week when we are out in France, so I will be able to give you the low down when I come back!

They both seem like lovely lads. They don't speak much English but I'll get my Scouse on them as soon as I can and teach them all the cockney slang so that'll be quite good!

I'm looking forward to getting to know them over the next week and I'm certainly expecting more players to walk through the door before August 16.

Looking forward to the season, we believe the top ten is where we belong and I think, if we had our full-strength side available last year, week-in week-out, we would have been in the top ten without a shadow of a doubt.

We start at home to Tottenham, of course, and to be quite honest I couldn't believe it! It just gets you all excited, it gets everyone up for it, because everyone is talking about it already. All the texts I received on the day the fixtures came out, it was unbelievable!

We beat them three times last year, so we've got to make it four now, but they are starting a new era themselves so it's going to be interesting to see how they match up to us on the first day.

First and foremost, we have six or seven weeks of hard work to make sure when they come along we are ready and raring to go and hit the ground running.

Here's to a successful season!