Maguire explains how United training has changed
Fresh from his return to training, your club captain discusses the finer details of United's first session back...
Harry, you’ve been back to training, how good is it to go back and see some of the lads, although of course maintaining your social distance? “Yeah, definitely. Like you said it’s so good to be back just around the lads, even though like you say we are maintaining the social distance and respecting the guidelines. But no, it’s nice just to go through the gates and to head back to Carrington and yeah get on the pitches, but the boots back on and appreciate how good the pitches are.” Was it reassuring to know that everybody had been tested before you got back to the Aon Training Complex? “Yeah, it’s been a strange few months, but it has been a protocol which the club has followed. It seems such a safe environment. It’s our first day back today, but it seems so safe and everyone is respecting it so well, so long may that continue and I’m sure no one will have any problems.” Training is different, so could you explain what it is like now? “There is a lot less people at the training ground when we go in. Today I was in a group of four, working with one coach, so not many people. You’ve got a lot space, big areas, not going really close to anyone, but the main thing is getting the work in and it was a tough session, go home and now I’m relaxed and it’s all in the bank and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.” So you’re training in smaller groups? And are there slots where a particular group will work? “Yeah, there’s slots all the way throughout the day, so some people will be in in the afternoon. I feel sorry for the boys who are doing the afternoon today with the weather, so I’m sure it will be tough running out there. There’s slots, I think every 30 minutes we have a different slot and each slot is taken by a different coach at the club. It’s obviously strange and something that we’re not used to, but at the moment it’s just getting the base fitness, the physical fitness and I think it’s good mentally as well to come into the training ground and get used to the surroundings again.” And just how good has it been to be able to get actually get a ball at your feet? “Yeah, the main thing that you miss when you’re running in parks and running on the treadmill is the ball work. We’ve been working hard over the last few weeks, even though we’ve not been in the training ground. We’ve all had GPS units and the club have been monitoring us really well and there has been some very difficult sessions in there in terms of running and physical work, but it’s nice to get the ball. The balls were out straightaway today, so it wasn’t like pre-season where the first day is normally testing. We got the balls out and it was nice to get the balls out. I’m sure everyone will appreciate, like I said, the beautiful pitches that are at the training ground too.” And what’s it like at the Aon Training Complex, Harry? There’s usually so many people going in and out, but it must be quite strange there now? “Yeah, it’s really strange. Obviously it’s different circumstances for us all. It’s been a strange couple of months, so we’re getting used to it, but we’re in a different building at the moment. We’re not in the normal training ground building, so we’re not in our own changing rooms. It’s literally we get to the training ground, we put our boots on, we go out on the field, we get in our cars and we drive home, so it’s more just getting the physical work in. The socialising isn’t really there, so there’s no banter between the lads which I’m sure the lads are missing. But it’s nice to get the boots back on, put the training kit back on and, like you said earlier, get the balls out.” And can you give us a couple of examples of the work that you can do there right now? “Today we had a good warm up, getting the joints moving again and good stretching. The last thing we want is to get injures so early on into building our fitness back up. We had a dribble track, where we were working around it continuously for two minutes. We did three blocks of that. We did a couple of passing drills, keeping a large distance between the lads. And we finished with some aerobic stuff, running across the penalty box which was tough. But no, it feels good now, it feels good now I’m home, resting and I’m ready to go again tomorrow.” And what extra lengths have the club gone to, just to ensure your safety there? “The safety, it seems really well organised. Like you said, we all got tested before we came in, so everyone in the changing room has a negative test. Every morning we get our temperature taken before we get to the training ground, so obviously they’re checking the temperature. We all have an app where we fill in to see if we’ve had any symptoms throughout the day. It’s such a safe environment and it’s an environment which is there to be built on. At the moment we’re all just taking it phase by phase, step by step and that’s the only thing we can do at the moment. I think it’s just taking it day by day. Like I said, the main thing is getting the physical work into our legs and it helps you mentally as well being at the training ground and seeing familiar faces.” Yeah and I guess you appreciate the work the groundsmen have done to keep those pitches so immaculate - it must be great to get your feet back on those pitches? “Yeah, definitely. To get one of the match balls and put your boots back on and get on the training ground where the pitches were immaculate today. I’m sure they’ve been working hard throughout this and making sure it’s perfect for us when we got back and credit to them it was today. And like you said, it’s great to back on those pitches rather than weaving in and out of dog walkers at parks.” And the lads must be really excited. Is this an indication that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that we are coming through this and football hopefully isn’t too far away? “Well first and foremost, it’s the first step. I think at the moment in time we’ve just got to take it step by step. We’re in phase one, let’s get through this phase without any troubles. I’m sure with the way things are set up and organised that should be done and then hopefully we can move into phase two and go from there. It’s step by step, it’s day by day. It’s only the first day, but it’s been a good start for me. To see the organisation has been really pleasing.” And finally Harry, as our captain, do you have a word for all the fans worldwide? “Be patient. We’re all itching to get back out on the pitch and we know that when we do get back out on the pitch it’ll be bigger and better than ever. I’m sure, hopefully, we can give you lots of things to celebrate about.”