'The first pre-season I can say is quite enjoyable' - Ryan Tunnicliffe's insight into Danny Cowley's Portsmouth training methods

A ball and no endless pitch circuits – for Ryan Tunnicliffe it’s the most enjoyable pre-season of his career.

By Neil Allen
Friday, 16th July 2021, 4:55 am

Danny Cowley’s summer approach to training has served as a pleasant surprise to the 28-year-old newcomer.

Tunnicliffe’s CV details Manchester United, Peterborough, Barnsley, Ipswich, Fulham, Wigan, Blackburn, Millwall and Luton.

Yet so far Blues sessions overseen by Cowley and his coaching staff represent something different.

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With a focus predominantly on ball work and technique rather than long-distance running, Tunnicliffe is revelling in life at his new club.

And during a week of double sessions at St George’s Park, he praised Cowley’s methods.

Tunnicliffe told The News: ‘Pre-season with Pompey has not been pointless running, there’s always a means to an end.

‘By that, I mean we don’t just do 1,500m running around the pitch, it’s all high-intensity football stuff. If done properly, it can benefit the lads rather than running for the sake of running.

Ryan Tunnicliffe has been impressed with Danny Cowley's training methods since joining Pompey. Picture: Paul Collins

‘I’ve done some crazy pre-seasons at other clubs where it’s just pointless running, which you don’t get as much out of.

‘Apparently 90 per cent of football is played with a ball. So the more time we get on the ball, the better we become and the fitter we get in the process if we do it properly and buy into it.

‘People say back in the day there used to be a lot of running uphills and other things. Don't get me wrong, there has been some running I’ve done in pre-seasons, but here it’s different, it’s enjoyable.

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‘It’s the first pre-season I can probably say is quite enjoyable – there’s a ball 90 per cent of the time.

‘We’ve had eight weeks off from not playing football, now we’re doing it every day, twice a day, so it’s not too bad.’

After signing last month, Tunnicliffe’s training arrival was delayed by a few days after getting married.

However, he has swiftly got to grips with Cowley and his preferred way of playing.

He added: ‘Since the first day I got here, the gaffer’s drilled his ethos into how he wants us to play. We’ve done tactics as early as the first week.

‘For myself, it’s the first time working with him, so he needs to drill those habits into the squad. You have to practice them if you want to perfect them from an early starting point.

‘It’s tough, but in modern-day football you’ve got to get as fit as you can, especially with the way the gaffer wants us to play.’

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