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Interviews

Alexander ahead of final Austrian friendly

21 July 2017

Manager Graham Alexander has provided his reaction to Kyle Wootton signing a new two-year deal, and also previewed the final friendly of the pre-season training camp in Austria.

United face SV Austria Salzburg on Friday evening (5pm kick-off UK time) before returning to the UK on Saturday, following a very positive week of fitness work and team bonding out in Obertraun.

Speaking to iFollow Iron, Alexander explained what he was looking for from the final friendly and spoke about the expected amount of game time for the players.

ON KYLE WOOTTON SIGNING A NEW CONTRACT...
GA: It’s been out there that there have been discussions between the club and Kyle since the end of last season. Kyle had to make a decision about his future and we’re glad we’ve agreed a deal for him to stay with us for another two years. He needs to get his head down now, and compete seriously for a place in the first team. I think the time now for being the young kid as back-up has passed. He’s been around the first team for a couple of years. He really needs to cement a place as a starter at some point this season.

ON THE COMPETITION FOR PLACES...
GA: It’s a real competitive squad and we’ve got good players all over it. The position Kyle plays is extremely competitive with the established lads there. We wouldn’t give him a contract though if we didn’t feel he had the potential to do that. It’s now down to Kyle to show the qualities he has and work as hard as he can to get that break.

ON THE FRIENDLY AGAINST SALZBURG...
GA: We’re looking for things from our team. It will be a step-up from the other day, but we’re not sure how much. The lads have had a strenuous week and it has been a tough one for them. We want to finish it in style with a good performance and to see an improvement in our all-round game, both on and off the ball while defending and attacking. We need to see gradual improvements in the players themselves as individuals. The team is the most important thing though. I’m looking forward to it, the players have trained extremely well this week and have pushed themselves physically. Tactically, they have taken on board what we’ve put in place and we need to see the evidence in the game on Friday night.

ON GAME TIME...
GA: There will be longer playing spells for the starting team - so whether people play 90 minutes or not, we’ll wait and see. We’ll mix it up again and go with a different starting line-up from the other day, because we need to get as many minutes into the players as possible. This is the stage where we’re still building the physical prowess of the individual. We’ll try to get them 70-75 minutes and make any changes we see necessary at that moment. We’ll gradually build them each game, and make sure it’s enough for the players to play and still be in a good state.

ON THE SEASON BEING JUST TWO WEEKS AWAY...
GA: It goes so quickly, even this week has. It’s absolutely flown by. When you’re working hard and focusing on the job in hand, the days fly by and before we know it the start of the season will be here. All the optimism and positivity builds up into that and we’re looking forward to it. We have three important pre-season games before then to take part in and improve. Then we’ll get down to the real business against AFC Wimbledon. Things are coming along quite nicely. There is still room for improvement on all sides from us but that’s what pre-season is for.

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