He urged his team-mates on, he called for the ball over and over again, he explained the passes and runs he was looking for to the U–19 players in his team: in short, Arjen Robben hit the ground running when he resumed training with the squad after his summer vacation. “I had a lovely holiday, almost four weeks. That was important," the Dutchman said from Bayern's Trentino training camp, “last week, I really noticed that I was totally recovered. I'm fresh and I'm looking forward to the new season."
That much is obvious to anyone watching the 28-year-old at work, although he was obliged to take it easy in his second training session. Instead of the squad session, he joined sports rehab patient Claudio Pizarro on Monday morning for a special stabilising and power-building workout. The wizard of the dribble knows his body very well, and realises that this kind of exercise is essential: “It was a good session to build up strength."
Last season was a severe disappointment for Arjen, with three runners-up spots in a Bayern shirt and a group stage exit from Euro 2012 with the Netherlands, so his vacation included important personal steps to rebuild his mental strength. “I got away from it all and had a really nice time with my family. The kids were a very welcome distraction," the player revealed.
“But yes, last season was really disappointing. We simply didn't pick up the trophies we wanted." The skilled wide player has already turned his attention to future glory. “It's all behind me. You can't go back and you can't change anything. I'm delighted we start again from scratch as usual. We may even be more motivated than before," he declared.
The last few percentage points of motivation and desire, the edge which may prove decisive in the battle for silverware, is also the business of Matthias Sammer, although the new board director for sport issued a note of warning in Trentino: “I can't score or prevent goals. Our players will shape the new season, not me." Robben could not agree more, as he entirely accepts the players are responsible for success and failure. “Mr Sammer isn't out on the field," the Dutchman pointed out. The field of play is where Robben is ready to deliver the goods.