By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
As he told his near 52,000 Twitter followers on Monday night, Ryan Taylor felt "like a kid on Christmas Eve" before his return to pre-season training.
And the grin on the midfielder's face as he arrived at Newcastle's Benton-based Training Centre on Tuesday morning proved the comment was far from sarcastic.
Fitness testing and power profiling lay in wait for Taylor and Co, under the watchful eye of the Club's medical staff, before the whole squad assemble on Thursday for their first day of 'proper' training.
But while the thought of being put through your paces and pushed to your physical limit over the space of a month is most people's idea of hell, Taylor explained that footballers are a different breed and every minute on the training pitch is an enjoyable experience.
"Having done so many pre-seasons you just get that bit more excited every year before you come in," the 27-year-old told nufc.co.uk.
"Your career doesn't last that long so you've got to enjoy it while it's here, and if you can't enjoy coming into an environement like this then what job can you enjoy?
"Last night I was getting myself ready, making sure my washbag was out, my boots, trainers and stuff like that.
"It's a nice feeling knowing you are going back to training. It's nice to have a summer off, but that first day back is also enjoyable as well.
"It was good to see some of the boys and the staff today and it will be nice on Thursday when 95 per cent of the boys are back in."
For the first three days of this week the Magpies' players have been arriving in small groups, and it is a chance to see who - if anyone - had over-indulged during the summer.
But Taylor insists he and his teammates are in good shape, despite busy summers.
"It was just a bit of testing and a little plod," he said of their first day.
"There were six or seven of us in today and everyone seems to be back in shape which is good to see.
"These next few days are mainly for the guys behind the scenes to see how everyone's bodies have reacted over the summer and to see what work we need doing, as well as making sure we've looked after ourselves over the summer and are still nice and trim.
"I'm not really one who puts on weight, and if it is then it's only by the odd pound. My body never really changes, but I had a good summer with stag dos, a wedding and a honeymoon. It was a relaxing one and not really crazy - apart from the stag do!"