Leon: Our season starts here

13th July

Leon Britton reckons Swansea City can lay the foundations for a strong season in the Premier League by putting in the hard yards on their tour of America.

Paul Clement’s men head across the Atlantic today ahead of a 10-day stint in the United States.

The Swans will play three games while they are away, against Philadelphia Union, Richmond Kickers and North Carolina.

But the trip is as much about graft on the training field as it is minutes on the pitch.

And Britton believes that if the Swans work hard now, they will reap the rewards further down the line.

“Pre-season is massive for every team, but this one is especially important for us because it is the manager’s first one here,” the club captain said.

“This is a good chance for him to get his ideas across and it is a good opportunity for the new players to mix in with their new team-mates.

“The big thing is that we will all get our base of work in ahead of the new season.

“There is always a lot of testing at the beginning of pre-season, but once you get on tour you do a lot of work.

“A lot of the players have young families. When you’re doing double training sessions in Swansea it is quite intense, then you’re going home tired and the kids want you to play in the garden!

“Having 10 days in America gives us the opportunity to really focus.

“We’ll do our training in the morning, then get some good recovery in the hotel room and then go again in the afternoon.

“The work we do really ramps up when you’re on tour.”

The Swans are in action against MLS side Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

They then face Richmond Kickers – who beat Francesco Guidolin’s Swans team on last season’s American tour – and North Carolina FC.

And Britton anticipates some difficult tests as Clement’s side attempt to get up to speed.

“What we have found when we have gone to America is that the standard of the sides we have faced has been good,” the veteran midfielder added.

“You always find that they are very fit. They are midway through their season and we are just starting out. That means it’s always a difficult test.”

While three wins would be very welcome, Britton reckons scorelines only count for so much at this team of year.

“You can’t read too much into pre-season results,” he pointed out.

“Over the years we have seen some teams who have won loads of pre-season games and then started the season badly and vice versa.

“You want to win ideally, but what’s important is that you are getting the tactical things the manager wants right and also getting the feel of playing with your team-mates, along with the fitness.”