Part of the squad returned to training at Bodymoor Heath today – here’s the low down in case you feel you may have missed something.
Words by Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Select Aston Villa players returned to Bodymoor Heath today to get stuck into preseason preparations ahead of the preseason fixture against Minnesota United in the United States.
There were a few players missing due to international team inclusions and those players will be given extra time off before joining with the rest of the squad. Jonathan Kodjia, John McGinn, Lovre Kalinic, Conor Hourihane, Neil Taylor and Ahmed Elmohamady are all internationals who could do with a bit of a break before diving into their Aston Villa responsibilities. The former and latter, of course, are away at the African Cup of Nations.
Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish had a few words about returning for preseason training:
“It’s good to see all the boys, see the gaffer and all the staff. We’ve had a long break off now. Coming back as a Premier League player feels nice. I can’t wait [for the game against Tottenham], Obviously now the hard work starts, all the training and the games soon. We’ll be working hard all over preseason and then be ready for that first game.”
With the ink still wet upon his contract, Matt Targett spoke on joining his new teammates for preseason training and the general focus of the group:
“You’ve got to focus on the preseason games first before you look ahead at Tottenham. You’ve got to build our fitness up and be ready for that game. Looking forward to meeting all the boys, they’ve given me a warm welcome so far.”
The training session was the first opportunity for Aston Villa to show off new training gear and it was captured beautifully by the club. Players were photographed in a new Kappa training range, which most supporters of the Midlands club really liked. A claret front with new sponsor W88 in a yellow colour, with dark blue sleeves and further yellow accents throughout. The Aston Villa badge itself is also yellow, and does not look out of place whatsoever. If these training tops are an indication of what is to come, there should be many happy Aston Villa supporters cheering on the release of the new kit. Some supporters were weary of an Aston Villa/Kappa kit partnership signalling a reduction in quality, but the training tops looked to be up to the standard that Aston Villa supporters were hoping for. John Terry and Richard O’Kelly were pictured in coaching training wear, featuring more subtle Villa centric elements. A dark blue kit throughout, with yellow and claret stripes on the upper shoulder. It would be a good idea and a better piece of business for Aston Villa to consider selling these new training kits as the club did not offer much of the training apparel last season.
There were a few inclusions to the crop of players who participated in training, as well. New acquisitions Matt Targett, Jota, Wesley and Frederic Guilbert were all present at this specific training. It was also a joy to see goalkeeper Orjan Nyland back and training after a terrible achilles injury sidelined him last season. Hopefully the Norwegian goalkeeper can stay on the road to recovery and kick on from such a painful injury.
There are now 14 days until Aston Villa travel to the United States to take on Minnesota United in a preseason fixture and it’s looking more and more likely that they will be signing more players before then. Villa most definitely have areas of the pitch that need strengthening and the patience so far shown by the scouting and coaching staff team has been more than pleasing. It would seem that there is a busy few weeks ahead of the clash in Minnesota, which sees Villa going up against a team who will be in mid-season swing and recently dispatched Cincinatti FC 7-1. If Villa needed a guage of fitness coming off of preseason preparations at England, Minnesota looks to be quite the test.