Middlesbrough's pre-season plans outlined as players prepare for Rockliffe return

Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Carrick watch Middlesbrough training
-Credit: (Image: Middlesbrough FC)

Middlesbrough players will be back at Rockliffe today as preparations for the upcoming season officially begin.

While some players who have had international commitments may get a slightly extended break, the majority of Michael Carrick's squad will be reconvening on Monday for the start of pre-season. Much of day one at least is expected to be in the gym though, with standard first-day testing taking place.

Boro will spend two weeks at Rockliffe getting back up to speed before jetting off to Portugal on Sunday, July 7 for a week of warm-weather training which will culminate in the first friendly of the summer - albeit a behind-closed-doors rematch against Vitoria after last summer's 1-0 win in the Algarve. From there, they return to England for five friendlies starting against Bolton at Bishop Auckland on July 20 and concluding against Heerenveen at the Riverside on Saturday, August 3.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough behind-closed-doors friendly rematch confirmed after 'feisty' encounter

Looking ahead to pre-season, head coach Carrick told the club website after signing his new contract: “Pretty much all the boys have already done a pre-season with us. It was my first one having come in in the October before that, but’s going to be pretty consistent really.

"The boys all understand what’s expected of them and how we work. I think having a good break this year should help because it was a shorter break last year because of the play-offs. That can destabilise you a little bit in terms of timings. But this year is a good break for the boys, enough to switch off, recharge and then get fit again.

"Pre-season is all planned, we’re looking forward to it. We’ve got a week in Portugal which will be nice. It’s good to get away like that all as one group and just focus. We then come back, get some games into them and look forward to the start of the season. It feels a long way at the moment, but it does come around pretty quickly."

While some prefer to take a more week-by-week approach to pre-season, Carrick admits he likes to have things fully planned out. Having gone away with personal training plans over the summer, the players will all be returning with a clear view of what lies ahead this summer.

“Everyone is different," Carrick continued. "Some people like to plan a little later. I personally like to be in control in terms of planning ahead and knowing what’s coming. We do that as best we can, so pre-season is all planned. We have our games pencilled in and the players have had their schedule for the whole of pre-season so they know what it looks like - when we’re training, when we’re away, when we’re not in etc.

"As coaches and fitness staff, we know what the sessions look like, in the first couple of weeks definitely. So we go back with a bit of a calmness, which I think is important because you know what to expect and can work your way back into it."