Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says that pre-season is the most physically demanding time of the footballing year - but admits that it is vital for Arsenal’s preparations.
The England midfielder is currently in his fourth full pre-season with the club and revealed how intensive the training is ahead of the new campaign.
“It is horrible!” he told Arsenal.com. “The first week is hell. We’re on day two now and it’s hard work. It’s a lot of running, crying, sore muscles, painful massages - it’s horrible but this is my sixth pre-season including Southampton now and you get used to it.
"It never fails to surprise you, even if you’ve seen it before in another Asian country, the support when you go"
“You know what you’re in for and I think that’s why you enjoy your holiday whilst you have the chance because once you come back here it’s not too much fun for the first three weeks until you get back into the season.”
The next stage of Arsenal’s pre-season takes them to Singapore to compete in the Barclays Asia Trophy, and Oxlade-Chamberlain cannot wait to meet more of the Gunners’ overseas fans.
“Every time we’ve been to Asia the support has been amazing,” he said. “It never fails to surprise you, even if you’ve seen it before in another Asian country, the support when you go.
“You see that fanatical support, sometimes for you personally and sometimes for the club and it really does take you by surprise. Hopefully the people will give us a nice welcome and hopefully when we’re there we can put on a nice show for them as well.
“You have to push yourself hard to get back to Premier League standards and level of fitness. Playing Premier League teams like Everton or Stoke, whoever it may be, is obviously a good test for us and will get us back to where we need to be.”