Winger speaks to Bees Player after first day’s training on pre-season training camp in Florida.
Sam Saunders thinks that Brentford’s squad’s work ethic is driving everyone on to work harder on the pre-season training camp in Florida.
The Bees are on a ten day training camp at the IMG Academy in Florida ahead of the new Sky Bet Championship season.
Sam was speaking after the first full day of training at the world class training facility in The Sunshine State.
Speaking to Bees Player Sam said he really enjoyed the first day of training and that the work ethic in the squad means that no player can give anything less than 100 per cent in every session.
“We had two sessions today,” said Sam.
“We had one football session with passing and technical work.
“The manager wants us to do more technical work than we did last season and he wants to emphasis us passing the ball and playing out from the back.
“We are looking to do what we did last year but do more of it.
“We had the football session in the morning then we had a box-to-box session which was more to do with fitness.
“Everything we do fitness wise is with the ball.
“Gone are the days that as a player we used to do hill runs and half-an-hour plods.
“Those days are gone and we are doing lots of short high intensity sessions.
“It is a lot more fun and a lot more game realistic.
“We had the first session then came back and had lunch and had a couple of hours to ourselves and then had a bit more fitness.
“The first day wasn’t a ten out of ten day but it was a six or seven out of ten to get us back into the swing of it.
“It was a long flight so it helped to get the travelling out of our legs.
“We have got ten days here so we don’t need to do everything straight away.
“We are going to get what we came here for and the boys are going to get into good shape and come back fit.
“We are a good bunch of pros here and the work ethic of the club is there to see.
“That spurs us on to do that little bit extra and you know that if you don’t do it other people will do it and they will grab your shirt.
“It is a great work ethic that we have in the club and everyone know what they want to get out of it in the end.
“It is a good work environment and that pushes everyone on.”
Sam hasn’t played a game since January due to injury and admits his body is adapting to being back in training.
With nearly six months out of training Sam said it has been hard to get back into it but added that he is really enjoying being back out with the lads.
“Pre-seasons are always tough,” said Sam.
“I tried to do as much as I could in the summer because I haven’t played since January 11th which is a long time to be out not playing football day in day out.
“I came back for a few days training here and there at the end of last season.
“The knee feels absolutely fine.
“I am pleased with how the knee feels and all my other muscles have adapted to training day in day out.
“I am stiff but I am enjoying being back out with the boys because there is nothing worse than sitting in the physio room.
“Seeing the boys training every day is heart-breaking because you want to be out there having a bit of banter with the lads.
“I am so happy to be back out there training and looking forward to the pre-season friendlies.”
Sam made 22 appearances for The Bees last season scoring five goals as The Bees returned to the second tier of English football for the first time in 22 years.
The 30-year-old was named Sky Bet League One Player of the month for December after scoring four goals in the month.
Sam admitted there was a selfish part of him which wanted to be involved in the run-in but added that promotion, at the end of the day, was the only important thing.
“I have been here five years now so I am a Brentford player but also a fan,” said Sam.
“On one side there is a selfish point of view, which I think you need to be a footballer, but all the boys in the squad are my mates.
“I was delighted for everyone at the club like Peter Gilham, who has been here for years. Everyone around the club deserved it and after how close we got the year before.
“What happened to me at the back end of the season was irrelevant because if you had offered me promotion before the season but said I wouldn’t have played a game I would have taken it.
“It was heart-breaking not to be involved and there were a lot of big games that I had to watch from the stands.
“Thank goodness the boys did the business and they have now given me the chance to play in The Championship.
“It was hard not to play the games but I have got a promotion medal and we are in the Championship next year so it isn’t all bad.”
Next season will be Sam's first tilt in the second tier of English football.
Sam reckons he has played in ten levels of football in England in his career.
The winger is really looking forward to his first season in The Championship especially in a team which plays football the way Sam likes to play.
"I am really looking forward to The Championship," said Sam.
"I know we are going to come up against better players but we are adapting our squad and we are getting stronger again.
"The boys have all worked so hard and we are getting better.
"I am playing with better players which makes it easier from the start.
"I have played at about ten levels all the way down to the Kent League and it is a lot different playing football down there from playing in The Championship.
"The manager wants to play with the ball on the floor and that is what I want to do and that is what I signed here for.
"The more that we play is music to my ears and I am really looking forward to it.
"There will be bigger stadiums and better pitches and, combined with a manager who plays how I like to play and trusts me, I am really looking forward to it."
Bees Player subscribers can listen to the interview here