x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Christian Wilhelmsson happy to be the early bird in Baniyas' training

The Swedish international missed the pre-season for two years in a row. Amer Abdulrahman rumoured to go on loan deal to Blackburn.

Christian Wilhelmsson of Baniyas, left, has missed pre-season training on last two occasions. Jake Badger for The National
Christian Wilhelmsson of Baniyas, left, has missed pre-season training on last two occasions. Jake Badger for The National

ABU DHABI // Christian Wilhelmsson, the Swedish international who has been given a contract extension at Baniyas, is looking forward to his first pre-season training in two years.

"I missed two pre-seasons in a row when I had to join clubs halfway through the season and it was very hard and a real struggle to join a team halfway through and perform," the midfielder said.

"So I am very glad to join the pre-season training at Baniyas is a big thing for me.

"I can now be more focused and train with the team from the beginning, which will help everyone to understand each other, adapt to the system and of course to perform. It is too early to talk about the strength and weaknesses of the team. We are only three days in to training and still don't know exactly who are going to be the regular starters."

Wilhelmsson replaced Moroccan Ismail Belmaalem at Baniyas during the January transfer window and has been rewarded with a contract extension for his good performance.

"Baniyas have the quality to match any team but sometimes after two or three good results the players seemed to take it easy, which was one of the setbacks last season," he said.

"Big teams don't do that and we must learn from them.

"If you want to win titles, we must play consistently well and shouldn't be carried away with a few good results. We will try to perform consistently until the end, hopefully."

Meanwhile, reports are emerging that midfielder Amer Abdulrahman will go on loan to English Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

apassela@thenational.ae

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