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Good to be involved - 30/07/2004

Good to be involved
Nicky Butt - a great pedigree
   Nicky Butt
   Jamie McClen
   James Milner
   Patrick Kluivert

Although there’s been some criticism of pre-season tours to the Far East, I’d say that the trip to Thailand and Hong Kong was highly beneficial in terms of fitness, and was also a very popular tour for the players – I certainly enjoyed it. Getting two full 90 minutes of first team football under my belt has given me a great foundation to build up my fitness. I feel good and I’m enjoying my training and games.

One of the big things about the Far East is the genuine friendliness of the people. They call Thailand the ‘country of smiles’ – and for good reason. I met people who I’d seen back in my first spell at the club, and was even given a photo album of pictures from the tour in ’96. So thank you to all the fans who made us so welcome, all the players were impressed and I’d certainly look to go back there on holiday.

Jamie McClen provided the entertainment as usual. Sitting in the hotel one day with the thunder and lightning crashing around, Jamie turns to us all and states…"Well lads, just remember that THUNDER never strikes twice!!", at which point everyone looks at him in momentary silence before falling about in laughter. He also went on a shopping trip and brought back what he called an ‘ePod’, most people call them ‘iPods’…but not Jamie.

Looking to this weekends tournament, I’d expect Olly to play atleast one of the games, but I think two games in two days is too soon for him. There’s a chance I could play some part – possibly on Sunday – and I’m looking forward the tournament.

It’s a shame Gazza doesn’t seem able to play, but he’ll be happy to be back in football and will no doubt get a great reception from both sets of Newcastle and Rangers fans.

We haven’t seen that much of Patrick Kluivert and Nicky Butt, but James Milner already looks the part. I’ve no doubt he’ll go on to became a very decent Premiership player.

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