Pellegrini’s West Ham head for Switzerland
West Ham United returned for preseason training on Monday morning before heading off for an intensive 12-day training camp in the Swiss Alps.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini assembled his squad at Rush Green for breakfast before the players underwent a series of tests, including cardiac screening and blood, body fat and musculoskeletal tests.
The Switzerland trip marks the beginning of the Hammers’ preparations for the 2018/19 Premier League campaign, kicking-off with a fixture with Swiss Challenge League club FC Winterthur on Sunday 8 July.
Pellegrini and his new backroom staff were joined by a strong squad on the flight to Zurich, led by Club captain Mark Noble and including summer signings Issa Diop and Ryan Fredericks as well as the fit-again Michail Antonio.
Senior professionals like Adrian, Pablo Zabaleta, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell and Andy Carroll will hope to impress Pellegrini and his coaches, as will Edimilson Fernandes in his homeland, young professionals Sead Haksabanovic and Martin Samuelsen and Academy of Football graduates including Declan Rice, Reece Oxford, Josh Cullen, Nathan Holland and Marcus Browne.
Chicharito, Lukasz Fabianski and Cheikhou Kouyate, who have been in action at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia, and Manuel Lanzini, who is recovering from knee surgery, will all return to Rush Green later in July. Hammer of the Year Marko Arnautovic, who was playing for Austria against Brazil as recently as mid-June, will join up with the squad in Switzerland next week.
After touching down in Switzerland’s largest city on Monday, the Hammers will head to Bad Ragaz, a small town in the canton of St. Gallen in the far east of the country, near the border with Liechtenstein. The Hammers will be based in the well-known health resort for the duration of the trip.
Switzerland has been used by the Club in the past, most-recently in 2011, while the country has been the pre-season destination of choice for many Premier League and leading European clubs in recent years, with its tranquil surroundings and mountainous terrain providing the perfect environment for the players’ physical fitness work and conditioning at altitude.
With an elevation of 510 metres above sea level, compared to just 162m in the UK, the players’ muscles will be forced to work harder to take in oxygen, producing more red blood cells and allowing more oxygen to be distributed around the body when returning to compete at a lower altitude.
A number of double training sessions mean that the players will be working extremely hard throughout their stay, while the camp will also enable the squad to spend valuable time together.