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"Gone are the days when players bowl in ten kilos overweight. They come back in good condition. We have a very professional bunch as you would imagine here, and they've all got benchmarks that they'll come back with."

- Tony Strudwick
22/06/2012 08:57, Report by Steve Bartram
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Strudwick ready for players

Tony Strudwick says he and the rest of United's performance team are geared up for the challenges of the looming pre-season campaign.

With Euro 2012, the European under-19 Championships and the London Olympics combining to occupy and drain several squad members after the exertions of the 2011/12 season, managing the squad's fitness is a tricky process - especially with a tri-continental tour looming at the end of July.

Nevertheless Strudwick, United's head of fitness and conditioning, says preparations for the 2012/13 campaign were underway as soon as last season had concluded.

"We give the players an off-season programme and typically that will involve, in the first couple of weeks at the end of the season, a bit of downtime, a bit of psychological rest which is very important for us," he told MUTV.

"Each player got an individual programme, even the players who went away with their international commitments, and they start those bits and bobs. There's a level of expectation when players come back.

"Gone are the days when players bowl in eight to ten kilogrammes overweight. They come back in good condition. We have a very professional bunch as you would imagine here, and they've all got benchmarks that they'll come back with.

"Invariably what happens is the more successful a player is, the more work we have to put into that player's plan. Albeit you're planning for a team event, each individual has bespoke needs. There'll be a lot of players coming back on different dates so logistically it's difficult to piece together.

"However we have got strategies in place; it's not new to us to have many of our players away on international duty, particularly in and around the tour time. We're good at dealing with that and I think we have done in the past so I don't envisage any problems there."

United's Carrington training ground has remained a hive of activity in the absence of the playing staff. Plentiful preparations have been ongoing in

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