Van der Vaart: Premier pace caused injuries

Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Rafael van der Vaart has reassured the club’s fans that he has no intentions of leaving and has fully settled into life in North London.

The 28-year-old enjoyed an impressive debut season in the Premier League, scoring 13 goals and contributing eight assists. However, he made no secret of his initial struggles to adjust to life living in a new city and at a club with mostly new team-mates.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he revealed, "In the first year you come into the club and you don’t really know anyone.

"You are a little nervous and you have to get used to the league, the lifestyle, but now we’re really settled and I feel great here."

Van der Vaart is enjoying his first pre-season training regime with the Tottenham squad having only signed for the club on the transfer deadline day last summer.

While lamenting that his summer holidays had been brief, he admitted that it’s now time to focus on the season ahead and ensure his name is in the forefront of manager Harry Redknapp’s mind.

"It’s been quite hard, in fact, I think I prefer to come back a little later!" Van der Vaart said.

"Seriously though, it’s been good. We’ve all had a holiday and now we’re back in training and getting ready for a hard season. I feel great. I did my fitness sessions during the summer, so I feel good.

The Dutchman stressed how crucial pre-season training is for optimising fitness levels throughout the season, especially in a league played at such a frantic pace.

"You need this work, it’s really important to get in shape. We have a tough pre-season, we go to South Africa and you want to stay fit for the whole season, so you need these sessions.

"I can remember when I came here, OK, I had pre-season at Madrid and I felt quite fit but here, the pace of the game is more intense than in Spain and that’s why I had a few little injuries."

By Killian Woods