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Toon in training: Magpies step up pre-season training ahead of new campaign

"Prior to the lads coming back they did a lot of individual work, but this is the first time we've come together collectively," Eddie Howe told NUFC TV on Sunday as the Magpies took their pre-season preparations up a notch at their Benton base this weekend.

The United head coach and his backroom staff have aimed to replicate their approach to last season - a campaign which saw Newcastle reach a first cup final in 24 years and finish fourth in the Premier League - and while several players have already been at the club's Darsley Park training centre this summer, Sunday saw the majority of the group assemble.

New signing Sandro Tonali will link up with the team later, along with the likes of Anthony Gordon, who lifted the European Under-21 Championship trophy with England on Saturday, and international players like Bruno Guimarães, Joelinton, Fabian Schär and Miguel Almiron.

But having the bulk of his squad together again was a big step towards the first pre-season friendly of the summer, at Gateshead next weekend, and Howe told NUFC TV: "The lads have come back very fit because of the programmes they've been on and the various schedules that we've individualised. The test results that we got today were as good as we've seen."

Club photographer Serena Taylor brought nufc.co.uk this gallery from the Magpies' Benton HQ.

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