Watson and McCarthy on the keepers' work
Southampton's Head of Goalkeeping Dave Watson has reflected on a fantastic week in Austria.
Saints returned from a training camp in Schruns on Saturday night, with five days of intense sessions being followed by a game against Swiss side St Gallen.
Watson used the week to continue his work with Fraser Forster, Alex McCarthy and Stuart Taylor, as well as Harry Lewis, who departed during the trip to join Dundee United on loan.
it's movement patterns, getting the intensity right and working the physical levels.dave watson
head of goalkeeping
While there, he provided us with an insight into the work the keepers were doing in preparation for the new season.
"It's been a real fantastic week – a fantastic venue for us to train in," he said. "Obviously, having all the goalies here fit and well early in pre-season gives us a chance to start back again and it's gone really well.
"I think some of the lads are maybe a bit upset with the rain and the showers, but for us it makes the sessions a little bit more pleasurable in terms of the surface that we're working on, so it's been a good week.
"The reality now is the players are all so professional that it's not like pre-season ten, 15 or 20 years ago, when you really had to work hard and get fit.
"I think the lads all come back in fantastic shape, so it's really just about getting the body adjusted again to daily routines, and for me it's just movement patterns, getting the intensity right and working the physical levels."
One of Watson's charges, McCarthy, explained how valuable the Head of Goalkeeping's sessions are.
"Dave's a great character around the group," said the 27-year-old. "His training sessions are top drawer. He works us hard, we've got a good group and the standard is really high.
"We want to keep pushing each other and we'll do that throughout the season. The sessions here have been really good. I obviously missed a lot of last season, so it's been nice to be back out there with the boys.
"It's nice to get away from the training ground and have this time together. We had a few singles and a few double sessions. With the new manager coming in, he wants to get his point across about how he wants to play, and the lads have enjoyed him coming in and what we've seen so far."
Watson also explained how he has been working with new manager Mauricio Pellegrino, and how he believes the future is bright under him.
"He's obviously got a different philosophy from the managers I've worked with previously, and coming away for a week's training and getting to know him better and the way that he works and the way he wants his staff to work gives us all a better opportunity for when we get back to Staplewood and we start normal weeks leading into Premier League games," he said.
"I think at the moment, in terms of what he wants from his staff and the team, it's pretty simple and if we all conform then I think we're in for a good season."
Watson was also pleased to see 36-year-old Taylor sign a new one-year deal to continue to support the rest of the keepers.
"He brings his experience to the group of goalkeepers and I think he's been a real good buffer for Fraser and for Al," he said.
"He's had some input into Harry's development, but he's obviously leaving now to go on loan for a season, but in terms of the input Stuart has with the rest of the group it's really been phenomenal and I think he's got a lot of respect in the group for what he does daily on the training ground, but obviously in and around the group on a matchday too."
Expanding on Lewis's season-long switch to Dundee United, Watson said: "The reality is that it's tough for young keepers to get exposure at a big Premier League club like Southampton and he's competing against England internationals, so that's very difficult.
"It was fantastic for him last season to get three games in the FA Cup and that experience has put him in the shop window for us to get the opportunity to put him on loan.
"At his age now he needs to go and get game exposure. It's a tough challenge to go up to Dundee United in the Scottish Championship, but he's playing men's football week in and week out, he's got to earn the right to be in the team and ultimately they're going to be chasing promotion, so it will be a real big challenge for him, but if he can overcome that then he comes back and it's a whole different set-up.
"The main thing is to be playing week in and week out. It will be a totally different environment to what he's got at Southampton. He's going to have to cope without me for a year, he's going to have to cope without friends for a year, he's going to be up there on his own, but the one thing he is going to be getting is first-team football, and that experience will be invaluable."