Sunderland forward Duncan Watmore shares a positive injury update as he returns to training
Duncan Watmore has shared a positive update after Sunderland’s first week of pre-season training.
The 25-year-old has been unable to take part in a full pre-season schedule since 2016, with a spate of injuries hampering his involvement.
But having recovered from a knee injury sustained in the 1-1 draw with Wycombe in March, Watmore is fit and raring to go ahead of the new League One campaign - which kicks-off on August 3.
And he believes a full pre-season will only aid him as the season progresses, having revealed that he has suffered no ill-effects during the early days of training at the Academy of Light.
“It’s been three years since I’ve had a full pre-season so I’m sure that will make a huge difference,” said Watmore, speaking to safc.com.
“It makes a big difference to fitness levels and my body is definitely feeling it after the first couple of days.
“I’m really enjoying it, though, we’ve done some football stuff as well as some hard graft, so it’s been a good combination.
“I’m really just trying to keep doing my gym work and everything I can because I want to stay fit and play minutes.
“I want to play football games and the only way to do that is by working hard on and off the pitch and hopefully, with a bit of luck, I will stay away from the injuries and string a few games together.”
Watmore’s late-season injury, which came only moments after he netted a dramatic strike at Adams Park, saw him miss out on the Black Cats’ two trips to Wembley last term.
And he’s hoping that he won’t make an appearance there this season, either - as Sunderland fix their eyes firmly on promotion.
"Everyone was so gutted at Wembley and it was horrible,” added the forward.
"But all the lads have come back committed and determined to make sure that doesn't happen again this season.
"Everyone is raring to go. We have a great group of lads and everyone is raring to go for the new season.”
*AC Milan have agreed a deal to sign left-back Theo Hernandez from Real Madrid.
The 21-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Real Sociedad, arrives at San Siro on a five-year contract for a reported fee of 20million euros(£17.9mmillion).
Marseille-born Hernandez came through the ranks at Atletico Madrid alongside older brother Lucas, who has left the Wanda Metropolitano this summer to become Bayern Munich's record signing.
Theo joined city rivals Real on a six-year contract in 2017 but was sent to Sociedad last season after making only 10 league starts in his maiden campaign at the Bernabeu.
He made 24 appearances in LaLiga last term and also had a loan spell at Alaves earlier in his career.
A Milan statement explained: "AC Milan has filed the contract and in the next 48 hours will complete the international transfer through the FIFA TMS system."