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So far so good for McEwen

English Barclays Premiership

Dave McEwen took the first day of pre-season training Premiership-style in his stride - but knows tough times could be just around the corner.

The first day back might have been a routine experience for seasoned professionals like Armstrong, Walker, Sherwood and Ferdinand, but for McEwen, it is a whole new ball game. The young striker was at non-League outfit Dulwich Hamlet at this time last year and this represents his first pre-season programme as a professional footballer.

"My first impression was that it was a long day," he said. "But the manager was clearly just easing us in, nothing too strenuous and building us up slowly. We did a bit of running, a few eights, a little bit of ball work, all gentle stuff. I'm well aware that after two or three weeks it could be a different story."

McEwen, 22, admitted previously to us that he had heard all about the 'horror stories' of pre-season training, but added: "It is part of football, part of the job and at the end of the day it is for your won benefit. It is there for you to get better."

At least the Londoner, who made his Premiership debut against Derby in April, was not guilty of piling on the pounds on a luxury holiday. He had other things on his mind during the break - exams for his business studies degree.

"I have not had much of holiday unfortunately," he revealed. "I had five exams over a 15 day period in June and worked hard for them, so I haven't had much of a chance. At least that means I've not been out drinking or anything. I've watched myself over the summer and kept myself ticking over."

Photographs courtesy of Action Images Ltd.
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