Paul Dickov is already seeing some big improvements at Manchester City at the end of his first week back at the club.
The Scottish striker returned to the Blues in May, just over four years since leaving for Leicester City, and began pre-season training when the squad reconvened at Carrington last Monday.
“It's four and a half years since I was last here,” says Paul, “and straight away it hit home to me that everything here was a lot more professional.
“The facilities, the coaching and the management has moved on as it has done at every football club, and you have to take your hat off to the Manager and the Chairman for allowing that to happen.”
Paul is appreciative of the new approach to both training and recovery that is now taken, which includes players immersing themselves in ice baths at the end of a session during the current warm spell of weather.
“In the last four or five years pre-season training has become a lot more structured. This is my 17th pre-season, and when I first started you were made to run until you were sick, and that's when you were thought to be fit!
“Everything is a lot more scientific now, there are certain aims and you have to make sure your target is the first game of the season.
“Clubs are learning more and more each year about recovery, muscle strength and looking after yourself. The ice baths are a part of that and have been a great benefit, but I am one of those who will try anything if it improves me by half a percent.”
Having signed his new deal with the Club in May, Paul has been itching to get back in action.
“You are always glad of the rest, but even through all the talks with the Manager I just wished I could have come back in straight away, that's how much I was looking forward to coming back here. It has been a bit frustrating, because I signed back in May, and I was desperate to get back.”