Southampton set down in China on Sunday afternoon as manager Mark Hughes continues his pre-season preparations for the coming Premier League campaign of 2018/19.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) July 1, 2018
With the players back in training now, things certainly step up a gear out in China as we face FC Schalke 04 and Jiangsu Suning over the next two weeks before returning to continue our preparations after a little Club Super Cup adventure.
Speaking to saintsfc ahead of the flight out, Hughes explained that he was looking forward to the tests ahead but the main aim of the trip was fitness and bedding in our new boys.
“The point is obviously to get the majority of the guys back and a few new faces as well, so that’s always good to be together as a group for a certain length of time. It just helps the new guys to integrate. They’re good quality games out there, that’s the important thing. You need games that will stretch you and test you as a group, and as an individual. I think the conditions and humidity and the travelling always has an impact, but sometimes that can help you. Sometimes playing in difficult conditions can get you up to speed a little bit quicker, so we don’t see it as detrimental the travelling and playing in difficult conditions.”
Whilst this is very much run of the mill for this time of year, the squad that had travelling certainly raised eyebrows.
Stuart Armstrong, Charlie Austin, Ryan Bertrand, Jordy Clasie, Steven Davis, Jake Flannigan, Fraser Forster, Manolo Gabbiadini, Sam Gallagher, Jake Hesketh, Wesley Hoedt, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Alfie Jones, Mario Lemina, Harry Lewis, Shane Long, Alex McCarthy, Sam McQueen, Nathan Redmond, Harrison Reed, Oriol Romeu, Jack Rose, Josh Sims, Callum Slattery, Jack Stephens, Matt Targett, Yan Valery, Jake Vokins, James Ward-Prowse.
A good mix of youth in there and Mohamed Elyounnoussi will join up with us later, and we are of course waiting for those on international duty to get their extended breaks.
But eagle-eyed fans will have noticed that Guido Carrillo and Sofiane Boufal haven’t travelled. There has already been some speculation about their futures given last season and their performances so I think we can certainly take it from this that Hughes is looking to move them on this summer as he continues his own rebuild of the club.
— thi ov (@thioc) June 30, 2018