AZPILICUETA: STILL BUILDING
Cesar Azpilicueta played almost an hour in Saturday night's friendly win against Roma in Washington DC, and believes it was a valuable experience as we approach the season's start.
The defender was a latecomer to pre-season due to his involvement with Spain at the Confederations Cup, but has slowly been building his fitness in America with the aim of being ready for next weekend's Premier League opener against Hull City, and 60 minutes at the RFK Stadium will have done Azpilicueta no harm at all.
'I feel good after an hour. Sometimes you need to increase your minutes little by little and it was good to play 60, it's the correct way to approach the season,' he said afterwards.
'Sometimes in training I have felt tired but it is normal and you need to work and we have one more week to be fit for the first game.'
During the match, he marked Roma legend Francesco Totti, playing out a fascinating duel of hungry youngster against seasoned master.
'This is the game, I tried to defend as best as possible,' said the former Marseille man. 'He is one of the best players in history and it was nice to play against him, so I tried to do my best.
'He wasn't very happy because I kicked him once by mistake, I was defending aggressively against him and needed to be concentrated, giving him no space, but he was okay afterwards.'
Azpilicueta now travels to Ecuador to link up with the national team once more, before returning to London later in the week.
'I came back later because of the national team, so we had more days out and now we have an international friendly game to prepare. It's another game to be able to play to build fitness. We play on Wednesday and then travel back to London, so I hope I will be ready for the league,' he said.
We will have a full international call-up roundup on the site on Monday.