Head of fitness and conditioning, Tony Strudwick, recently spoke to Inside United and gave an insight into his role of ensuring the players remain in peak condition for the business end of the season…
Are you happy with where the players are fitness-wise at this stage of the campaign?
Yes we are. We’ve come through the first half of the season now and are in a good position. We got off to a slow start which was perhaps a culmination of factors, including players coming back late from international duty and injuries, but from a fitness performance point of view I think we’re quite content. We’ve tried some different things this season and introduced some new ideas with regard to preparing the players for the robustness that you require for 50/60-game seasons. We’re happy with some and we’ll refine others. The new facilities at Carrington are also operational now and that will only help us from a fitness and medical perspective. To have travelled to places like Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea and City and won away from home has been great, but obviously we’re only halfway there. Last year we were in a good position but we saw how just a couple of results can cause a swing in momentum, so we’ve got to try and prepare for that come the end of the season. And we’ve got quite a few of the players back in the last couple of months or so, players like Kagawa, Nani, Anderson and Vidic are all pushing forward now. That only helps raise the quality throughout – it makes training more competitive and there is more competition for places.
How much variation does there tend to be between individuals when it comes to fitness? Players like Michael Carrick or Patrice Evra, for example, seem to be able to play 90 minutes almost every game…
Of course, football is a team sport but one of the key things is about how you manage individuals within that team structure. It’s not a case of having a one rule for all approach. We