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Roque on familiar ground with the boss

Hughes talking Roque Santa Cruz

Hughes talking Roque Santa Cruz

Roque Santa Cruz knew exactly what to expect when he started pre-season training as a Manchester City player for the first time at the weekend - hard work, and lots of it!

The Paraguayan striker, signed from Blackburn Rovers just a couple of weeks ago, is once again under the watchful eye of the coaching team who he worked for in his first year at Ewood Park.

He rewarded Mark Hughes' faith in him with 19 league goals in his first season in the Barclays Premier League, and rather than dreading the resumption of training, the thought of teaming up with the Manager, assistant Mark Bowen and first team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki was one that Roque relished.

Speaking exclusively to mcfc.co.uk, Roque told us, "I know that they like to train as well as possible," he says "and as hard as they can to take you to the limits. They do it so you can bring the best of your talent onto the pitch, but I knew for sure that it's going to be hard when we start training again".

After a couple of days at Carrington, the squad relocated to southern Germany for a training camp designed to sharpen the players up ahead of the resumption of match action on the tour to South Africa. It's something Roque is familiar with, having done the same when first at Blackburn and when with Bayern Munich before that, and it's a time he will be looking to put himself well to the fore in Mark Hughes' thinking.

"You can just focus on training, it helps you bring the best out of yourself in every session and to get you as fit as possible for the rest of the season. It's a great place to concentrate on your fitness and get yourself ready".

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City's first team squad, minus some of its internationals who have been given an extra week’s holiday, headed for Germany this morning for some intensive pre-season preparation and a low profile warm up match with 1860 Munich.

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