By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Vurnon Anita is ready for his first pre-season as a Newcastle United player and believes the next couple of weeks will help to lay the foundations for a strong season - both individually and collectively.
Holland international Anita arrived on Tyneside from Ajax on the eve of last season, but this year he will be prepare with his team-mates from the very start having arrived back for testing at the training ground on Thursday.
Three groups are reporting to Benton this week ahead of the whole squad - minus the handful of players who were in action for their countries over the summer - assembling for the first time on Saturday.
And although the first few days back are always physically demanding, Anita knows that the work the players put in now will serve them well for the rest of a campaign which the midfielder hopes will be much improved from the previous term.
"I don't like pre-season, but it's necessary to get fit and to build stamina for the whole season," the 24-year-old told nufc.co.uk after returning from a family holiday in the Caribbean.
"It's very important. I don't like it but I do it with pleasure because I know it gives me everything for the future and for the whole season.
"Over the summer I make sure that I don't eat too much and things because you only make it harder for yourself in pre-season then, so I took care.
"I went to the gym and I ran so I'm ready for pre-season and I'm looking forward to seeing everybody on Saturday, to have a chat and a laugh with each other and then start with the training again."
Newcastle's first friendly sees them travel to Scottish Premier League runners-up Motherwell on Tuesday, 16th July before heading to Portugal for a training camp and games against Rio Ave and Pacos de Ferreira.
And Anita said: "It'll be good to play games again and see where we are as a team, so I'm looking forward to it and we must make it a better season than last season.
"We have a good group and everybody is one year further with each other so that's also good and now we must build to do a good performance."
On a personal level too, Anita is hoping to build on a stop-start first season in England and believes he will benefit from his experience so far in the Barclays Premier League.
Anita made 27 starts and ten substitute appearances in all competitions last term and admitted: "When I came, everything was new but now it's more normal and I'm looking forward to it."
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