Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe believes the club’s pre-season tour of North America is the perfect preparation for the Black Cats.
Dick Advocaat’s squad flew out to the US from Newcastle Airport at the weekend ahead of a three-game tour.
Once acclimatised, the schedule of tour games begins on Tuesday, July 14 (Wednesday morning UK time) as the Black Cats face Sacramento Republic at Bonney Field.
Three days later, Dick Advocaat’s side face Mexican side Pachuca at the same venue before jetting to Canada.
MLS side Toronto FC provide the opposition for the final game, at BMO Field on Wednesday 22nd July.
And Defoe believes the pre-season tour is the perfect base from which the build ahead of the 2015-16 Premier League campaign kicking off on August 8.
“Going to places like America and playing against teams out there is fantastic,” said the striker.
“Even though it’s pre-season you want to try and win all the games and take that into the season.
“The teams over there are very fit because the facilities over in America have got everything, and the conditions are warm so it’s almost like you are working twice as hard but it’s good because you come back twice as fit.”
Sunderland will be based near San Francisco for a week-long training camp for their first two games in Northern California against Republic and Mexican outfit Club de Futbol Pachuca.
They then head to Canada to face Defoe’s former side, Toronto FC.
The 32-year-old moved to Wearside last January after a spell in the MLS.
And the striker admits he is relishing a return to BMO field before Advocaat’s squad head back to the UK.
“They’re a good team with good supporters and, knowing their players like I do, they will want to win,” he told the club’s website.
“Their season started ages ago so they will be fit and it will be a good test for us, but playing teams that are currently undertaking their seasons will ensure we have to work hard so they will be good games.”
He added: “On a personal note it will be nice to go back and see friends, but I want to go there and win the game.
“Once you start playing games you can really feel where you’re at physically, and then it’s just a countdown to the first game of the season.”
* Are you heading out to the USA and Canada for Sunderland’s pre-season tour?
If so, we’d love to see your fan pictures and use them in the Sunderland Echo and online.
Simply inbox them to us via Facebook or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org