Ajax completed its day of travel yesterday with a relatively light practice at Wellington Sports Ground, just outside Southampton. At Premier League club Portsmouth’s complex, Vurnon Anita trained separately with physiotherapist Pim van Dord.
In the same way that Kolbeinn Sigthórsson and Miralem Sulejmani, who had stayed behind in the hotel, Vurnon Anita’s individual session was precautionary. At the start of the training week in England, no risks are being taken with even slightly injured players. The same naturally goes for selection players who are just back after being injured.
With Southampton airport a stone’s throw away – impossible to ignore due to the continuous stream of flights taking off – the first ‘English’ training was mostly about passing and kicking. The warm up and pre-work was conducted by fitness and recovery coach Björn Rekelhof. After the warm up, the players were put to the test. The passing distance was constantly increased. Now and then, the ball disappeared into the forest around Wellington Sports Ground. Materials men Richard and Randy, or the player himself, ensured that no balls remained behind in the woods.
Those punished with extra laps around the green sports complex, which also includes tennis courts and an athletic field, will be sorry. According to good English practices, the mown fields form an endless course. Extra laps are thus endless. This ‘punishment’ is mostly carried through in a jovial atmosphere on the first day of a trip.