John O'Shea

O'Shea enjoying Italy

by Stuart Vose

'It's great team bonding; things like that are important, to communicate with the new lads.'

Defender John O'Shea is getting plenty out of Sunderland's pre-season training camp in Italy.

Paolo Di Canio and his side have been spending plenty of time on the training ground as the Black Cats gear up for the new Barclays Premier League season.

And O'Shea says Di Canio is setting the standards high to ensure his side are raring to go when the season-opening game pits them against Fulham at the Stadium of Light on August 17.

“It’s been very good,” O'Shea said of the trip so far. “The facilities, the area, everything has been good and the boys’ attitudes have been excellent which is what you’d expect.

“The gaffer wants to put a good marker down for the season and for everybody to be fully fit and raring to go.

It’s a great place to come; the conditions could make it tough at times but that’s what pre-season is all about.

“We’ve done good sessions in the morning and late afternoon. First and foremost it's great team bonding; things like that are important, to communicate with the new lads.”

The club have been busy in the transfer market already with a number of new faces in the squad for the trip.

And O'Shea feels the new group is gelling well with the remainder of the trip plus the Barclays Asia Trophy tournament in Hong Kong still to come.

“This is a great situation for everybody to get to know the new lads and help them settle in and the rest of the lads are great at that,” he said.

“Most of us have been here a few years but we all know what it’s like coming to a new club so its important to help each other out. Obviously we still have the trip to Hong Kong too where we can continue what we have done in Italy.

“The new lads’ attitudes and application in training so far have been fantastic. They have lots of physical strength and skill as well so there is lots to look forward to.”