Neville: Pre-season is easier now

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Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes pre-season training has become increasingly easier for players, particularly in comparison to when he first began his professional career.

The 36-year-old retired in February in year following a number of injury-plagued campaigns, having made more than 600 appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side since his debut in 1992.

Neville has now suggested that the gruelling pre-season schedule of years gone by is no longer part of preparations, with clubs now adopting more modern methods in order to assure their players are at full fitness for the new campaign.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Neville said: "I've got to say football has moved on from the point where you're going on country runs. You can extract the same amount of fitness from short football sessions, particularly when they're more football-related.

"In our latter years, pre-season seemed to get easier because it was more football-related and more game-related.

"You find now that flogging players on long runs, those old days are gone. In terms of being a football player, it's more suited and something that is better for the player.

"Times move on. I wish I was in the peak of my career but my time has gone. At the end of the day, I wish I was there in some ways but, with the current state of my body, I'm glad I'm not!"

By Andrew Kennedy