RONALDO VIEIRA says he will enter his second full season as a professional having reaped huge benefits from a victorious summer with England’s under-20s.
The Leeds United midfielder returned to pre-season training this week just 16 days after playing an integral part in helping the young Three Lions win the Toulon Tournament final.
After starting both of England’s first two group games against Angola and Cuba, the teenager returned to the side for both the semi-final against Scotland and final against the Ivory Coast in which the midfielder scored the winning penalty.
As part of a whirlwind summer, the 18-year-old was then back in pre-season training at Thorp Arch on Monday admitting there had barely been time for a rest.
But Vieira has been thrilled with his summer’s international escapades and admits his strong involvement for England under-20s is bound to reap rewards for both himself and his club in 2017-18.
Vieira only made his Leeds debut in May last year and his since signed two new contracts with United who naturally hold the talented teenager in very high esteem.
“It felt good,” said Vieira, reflecting on his summer’s glories with England’s under-20s.
“It was me who scored that winning penalty but it could have been anyone else – I’m sure they would have put it in as well.
“But it was a good experience, not just for me but for the whole team and that will hopefully help me throughout the season.
“I was playing against different people with different styles and against different countries and the way they play might be a bit different to the way we play. It’s just more about the stuff you learn when you play an international – it’s different to the Football League.
“It was good, it was obviously a new group as not everyone had played together and there were a few new lads as well, including myself.
“To win it was good for us because I don’t think anybody expected us to win it.
“It’s been a positive summer for me in signing a new deal and then going away with England, I couldn’t have asked for more. Now it’s back to work to see where we get to this season.”
United have now been back training for the best part of a week under new head coach Thomas Christiansen.
A beaming Vieira joked that a few worried faces approached Monday’s body fat test.
“There were a few scared people.” laughed Vieira.
“There were a few that didn’t even eat breakfast just to see if they could bring it down!
“Obviously you put a little bit of fat on but it will go in a week or so. And pre-season is very very important.
“We need to prepare ourselves properly to get through the whole season because last year it obviously broke down at the end of it.
“But this year we are going out to make sure we don’t do that any more and make sure we start well too ahead of that first game against Bolton.
“That would be the focus – start well, and make sure we do what we did last season but finish strong as well.”
There are now four weeks until Christiansen’s first Championship game in charge – and Vieira has been immediately impressed by United’s 44-year-old new boss.
“He’s said quite good things about us and he’s got his own ideas about how he is going to improve the squad and he’s got flexibility as well,” said United’s England star.
“He’s got his own ideas and he might change a few bits and do bits and pieces but it’s good.
“Everyone is excited to see what he brings into the team and to see if we can get back to where we belong.”