ALBION’s players have a two-day respite before embarking on Phase Two of the pre-season schedule with the Club’s debut in the Premier League Asia Trophy.
But it’s been so far so good for James McClean, who is now an ‘old hand’ at the feared Tony Pulis Austria trip which Albion’s Head Coach believes provides such a strong fitness bedrock for the Premier League campaign.
The Irish international is known as the 'fitness monster' within the Baggies camp but even he approaches the trip to the Alpine outpost at Irdning with respect.
“It’s a tough week which the first week normally is,” said McClean. “It’s all about getting strength in the legs to keep you strong in terms of injuries.
“Mentally and physically it’s been tough and I’m glad that it’s in the bag. It’s always good to get it out of the way.
“I’ve had internationals and they normally help as well to keep you fit. In this day and age you can’t come back out of shape. Professional footballers are athletes; it’s not like it used to be.
“I’ve had experience of how tough this pre-season is as well. I’ve put in the work myself so it wouldn’t be as tough. I got through the week fine and I feel great.”
McClean weighed in with Albion’s goal in the match against Slavia Prague which climaxed the Austrian venture.
Pulis utilised two different line-ups in each half with the opposition ultimately running out 2-1 winners.
But McClean added: “The harder you work, the more you can do and the fitter you get. Some people just have that natural fitness as well. I’ve done loads of different training over the summer and I’m one of those guys who enjoys training. I enjoy doing different things…it all accumulates and builds that fitness.
“The legs are heavy after a week like that but it was good to get a bit of match sharpness. It’s good to get 45 minutes and always nice to score, even though it’s a friendly. Pre-season is just about getting match sharpness.”