Matt Crooks talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
Midfielder Matt Crooks admits he has had to quickly acclimatise himself to the rigours of a Rotherham United pre-season following the club’s return to training last week.
The former Northampton Town man is yet to experience a pre-season under boss Paul Warne following his January arrival but acknowledges that there are plenty of miles to come before the Millers kick off their season on 3rd August.
The 25-year-old continued to add that the prospect of the hard work ahead fills him with dread and excitement in equal measure as the club’s staff continue to up the ante in pre-season.
“The last week of the break is never nice because you know you're coming back to a lot of hard work. I was sweating a bit in the car on the way to the first session, I had to put the air conditioning on,” Crooks joked.
“In all seriousness, I'm enjoying being back with the lads and getting to know the new lads, even though it is tough, I'm just enjoying myself.
“The day-to-day sessions are really hard during the season so I'm already wondering how hard pre-season will get when they can really work us hard. As we speak I'm just watching Julien [Lamy] do his mile run and I'm absolutely dreading it.”
Crooks impressed the AESSEAL New York Stadium faithful, particularly in the latter stages of the 2018/19 campaign with a flurry of impressive showings from the engine room, and is hoping to improve even further with a full pre-season schedule under his belt this time out.
“People do say that it is notoriously harder for January signings to fit in but I felt like I did that, especially towards the end and I started to understand the way the staff wanted me to play and it worked,” he continued.
“I think getting through pre-season injury-free is the main thing for me. I'll be working hard and I feel like I improved over the last six months since I've been here and hopefully the extra time with the staff, fitness coaches and other people at the club I can keep getting better.”
The Millers will endure another tough week of fitness testing at their training base at Roundwood which will be followed by a friendly against Parkgate FC on Saturday, before they depart for their overseas training camp in Germany.
With Millers teammates and players gone before him having tasted pre-season in Austria, Crooks admits he was quick to do an internet search ahead of the club’s arrival at their overseas training base next Monday.
“I've Googled Barsinghausen already!
“I wanted to see what the weather was like because I was hoping it would rain. If you're running all the time, I'd prefer to do it in the rain so it isn't as hard, but the day before I'd looked it was 35 degrees, so that isn't working in our favour,” Crooks added.
“There'll be lots of running, bike rides and more running, more bike rides and then we might see a football!”