Repeat this after me:
Say it, and really believe it.
“Rare is the ‘training stint’ that is 100 percent ‘training stint.’ ”
Players who go overseas for a week or two weeks or whatever do certainly get something out of the exercise. They are staying in shape and sharpening their all the little tools in their bag of technical tricks. Further, they get exposed to the professionalism and serious business of soccer in other lands.
But the clubs are getting something too. At some point, as I keep saying, these are de facto tryouts.
I give you Osvaldo Alonso, the Seattle Sounders’ crackerjack holding midfielder, who is training at Upton Park with West Ham. The club says it’s a training spell – and I have no trouble believing that on its face. However …what if they like what they see?
Here’s what West Ham boss Sam Allardyce says about that ticklish little scenario:
We’re never going to turn one down are we? Or two! You’ve always got to try. If there’s anybody there who can enhance or better the team, then we would like to go for them.”
“Whether that’s short term, long term, it depends when the window opens who is actually available and who we can to get to come in.”