Having said that it was still a very exciting World Cup experience, I thoroughly enjoyed the occasion and I know the rest of the England lads all enjoyed their time in the Far East.
Since then I’ve had four and a half weeks off, before returning for pre-season raring to go and looking ahead to the new season. As always, pre-season was tough going but we’re certainly ready for another Premiership campaign.
We opened our season last week with a trip to Everton, a very tough game to begin with. David Moyes has started very well in his managerial career at Everton and the club ended last year in good form, so we knew it would be a difficult first day for us and that’s the way it proved on a boiling hot afternoon at Goodison.
I thought it was a fair result in the end. Although we were 1-0 down and then 2-1 up, it really could have gone either way, so a draw was probably about right. We were a little bit disappointed not to hold on having taken the lead but it was a steady start to the season.
I’d like to personally welcome the new faces in the squad for this season. Jamie Redknapp was on board towards the end of last season and he’s already looking as good as we all thought he would. Milenko Acimovic looks a very comfortable player on the ball with great awareness and great skill, I think he’ll end up scoring quite a lot from midfield, he’s got a real eye for goal.
Also, Jonathan Blondel is a young and accomplished player, another who is very good in possession, but it will take him and Milenko a little while to adapt to English football. If we can all help them along the way, I’m sure they’ll do well here.
One other player we have signed is Rohan Ricketts and I’ve been very impressed with him in the times I’ve seen him in training. He looks very assured in the final third of the field, where passes can sometimes go astray but he looks very calm in that area.
Obviously the aim of every season is to improve on the last one and that’s exactly how we are approaching this year. We had a steady season last time round but we must improve, we must get better and that means getting into Europe.
We came close on two fronts last season, so that has to be our goal for the new campaign and I know we are more than capable of doing so. Qualifying for Europe, in whatever competition it takes, is our main aim and let’s hope today’s match is a step in the right direction.
Enjoy the game.
First of all welcome back to everybody, it’s good to be here again. I personally have had a very enjoyable summer, starting with the World Cup. It didn’t go quite according to plan, it would have been nice to have gone a couple of steps further in the competition. We felt we had a good chance of winning the tournament this time around but it wasn’t to be.