Sunderland winger Duncan Watmore has opened up about the benefits of being able to play a part in a full pre-season following several years of injury issues at the Stadium of Light.
Over the past two seasons, the 25-year-old has only featured on 21 occasions for the Black Cats with his side suffering considerably in his absence.
Currently Sunderland’s longest-serving player having initially joined the club in 2013 from Altrincham, Watmore will undoubtedly be determined to help them navigate their way back to the Championship next year.
Speaking to ChronicleLive ahead of the upcoming campaign, Watmore said: “It feels much better to have a full pre-season again.
“My body, as everyone knows, has been through a lot over the past two or three years, and pre-season is a huge part of getting your body robust enough for the challenges ahead in the season.
“I’ve been managing a few muscle injuries over pre-season because my body is not used to the repetitive work that some of the lads are, so I just have to accept that that is the way it is going to be.
“But the more I can manage it and the more I can get through, the more robust I get – it’s just a case of pushing as hard as I can without getting injured again.”
When you consider just how unfortunate Watmore has been with injuries, the fact that he has managed to prosper in Sunderland’s pre-season clashes with Portuguese sides Benfica B and Belenenses is unquestionably good news for the club’s supporters.
The winger only managed to play a small role in the Black Cats’ previous campaign and knows that it he has to produce the goods over the next 10 months with his contract at the Stadium of Light set to expire in 2020.
If he can replicate the form that saw him thrive amongst England’s elite earlier on in his career in the third-tier next season, Watmore could be rewarded with an extension by Sunderland.
Yet before he can think about his long-term future, the former Altrincham ace must first focus on overtaking the likes of Aiden McGeady and Chris Maguire in the pecking order at the Stadium of Light.