Ashley Young has admitted that the pre-season he had under Antonio Conte at Inter Milan was brutal but insisted that the work helped him to become fitter than he has ever been in his career.

The demanding training regime of Conte and his staff has been well documented over the years and the Tottenham players got to experience that first-hand during pre-season.

Dejan Kulusevski

Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Tottenham squad were reportedly made to run 42 lengths of the pitch at a quick pace in the 30C heat of Seoul after playing a full-pitch game, with the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min seen collapsing in the middle of the session before picking themselves up to soldier on (Daily Mail).

Although cameras were not present at Hotspur Way to fully document how hard Conte worked the players in the mini-pre season before the campaign resumed on Boxing Day, Dejan Kulusevski revealed last month that the players had worked even harder than they did back in the summer (Football.London).

Young has now spoken about his experience of training under the Italian, explaining that he and his former Inter teammates benefited hugely from the fitness work.

When asked about working with Conte, the Aston Villa star told The Telegraph: “Oh, he is intense. If you ask any player who has played under him – you either sink or swim.

“You have to be on board with him and want to work. He is going to test you. But if you can come through that test and you want to win and succeed.

“He [Conte] tests you in training, where you are running non-stop. There will be different training times. It’s a different culture. I say that we ran a lot out there … I think I saw every part of that training ground because we ran around it all.

“I say it was one of the toughest pre-seasons [2020] but I think it set me in good stead. From then I have felt the fittest I have ever felt. I know saying that at 37, having gone through my twenties, is crazy.

“But you get to know your body. I don’t know whether it was being pushed as hard as ever. But it was a crazy amount of running – I know that. 

“You could tell in games when teams would stay with us until half-time and then around the 60th minute you would see them drop off because they couldn’t deal with our fitness. We would kick on again and there were so many times we got late goals.”

Spurs Web Opinion

This revelation from Young proves that it is certainly no accident that Spurs have tended to be much better in the second half and finish games stronger than their opponents. Conte’s teams have historically also tended to finish seasons stronger, which perhaps bodes well for Spurs over the coming months. 

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