John Ruddy has experienced his fair share of pre-seasons and now believes he’s embarked on his toughest yet as Wolves prepare for the Europa League as well as Premier League.
Ruddy joined the likes of Conor Coady, Jonny Otto and Ryan Bennett for the first day of pre-season testing on Thursday and could feel the excitement within the group. With the summer schedule including a trip to China and Europa League qualifiers, the experienced goalkeeper is under no allusions of the demand for the next six weeks, but knows the group are ready for the challenge ahead.
On the changes to pre-season
“I think this is number 16 for me and it never gets easier. Every year it gets harder, but it’s changed a lot, even in my 16 years. You’ve now got to come back fit, you’ve got to really have good fitness levels to come back with.
“When I first started pre-season was used to get you fit, but now you’ve got to come back probably at 90 percent already. Now it’s just about topping up and finalising the details. We’ve done a few tests to see where we’re at. Then we’ll see what we need to work on over the next six weeks before the fun starts.”
On a busy pre-season
“We’re going to find it different (due to China and the Europa League). There’s a bit of travelling, but in terms of the Europa League, we’ve got a squad where most of the players played in the Championship and understand what it’s like to play Saturday-Tuesday, so Thursday-Sunday we should be able to take in our stride. We just have to deal with the travel aspect.”
On his Europa League experience
“I played in it when I joined Motherwell. We had one fixture against Steaua Bucharest, which was a great experience, but I’m hoping we go further than I did with Motherwell. Group stages are the aim and we have more than enough to get there.”