Robert Snodgrass believes that West Ham United’s pre-season training camp in Austria has provided him with the ideal platform to prove he can be a success in a claret and blue shirt next season.
The 29-year-old Scotland international, who made 15 appearances after joining from Hull City during the January transfer window, admits that it took time to settle in to his new surroundings – with his young family initially remaining up in the north after his move and the Hammers going through a difficult period on the pitch soon after his arrival.
However, with the fresh start that pre-season brings, plus the chance to spend quality time on and off the pitch with his team-mates, Snodgrass is feeling confident ahead of the new campaign.
“It’s been really enjoyable to get back among the lads and dust off the cobwebs after the summer,” he says. “I had a lovely break with my wife and children – having spent a lot of time away from them when I first moved down.
“Especially after joining in January - any footballer will say the same – you need a proper pre-season with your team-mates and the management staff to really establish yourself at a club.
“You get to see a side of the game that shows people’s character – when things get tough are you going to pull out of runs or are you going to keep going and push yourself?
“In pre-season you get to find out about yourself, you get to find out about your team-mates, and it helps to build that spirit that is so important.
“It isn’t easy – it never has been. It’s mentally tough and physically tough and can take you into places you didn’t know you could reach! You just focus on doing the best you can and everyone wants to have the best pre-season they can, because it gives you a better chance of starting well once the Premier League kicks off.”
Looking ahead to the new campaign, Snodgrass has one burning ambition in his sights – to display the proven quality in front of goal that persuaded Slaven Bilic to capture his services earlier this year.
Having found the net nine times in 24 appearances for Hull last season before his move to London Stadium, the former Leeds and Norwich attacker was disappointed not to break his duck for the Hammers and is determined to overcome that barrier as soon as possible next season.
“I always want to try to be involved in goals and scoring goals, and it’s the first time I have been at a club and not managed to score early on,” he says.
“When I came in we weren’t winning many games and it was a tough time, given that West Ham were tipped to do well after such a great season the previous year.
“I think our record when I started games wasn’t too bad, but I need to start scoring and creating goals, it’s as simple as that.
“It’s been difficult – it is something that has been on my mind, and something that gives me that motivation to push on and show people that I can do it at West Ham.
“Once I get that first goal I really believe I can kick on and show what I can do.”