On Monday the first group of Whites players – those not involved in international football this summer – reported back for pre-season testing at Leeds Beckett University.
Their international counterparts will enjoy an extra week off before returning on July 4 to be weighed, scanned, poked, prodded and put through their paces.
Among that second group will be Aaronson and Kristensen, who represented the US Men’s National Team and Denmark respectively in the post-season block of international fixtures. Aaronson played 19 minutes of a 5-0 win over Grenada, setting up a goal, and then got 45 minutes in the 1-1 draw with El Salvador. Kristensen, meanwhile, featured in all four of Denmark’s Nations League fixtures with a pair of 90-minute performances and two half-hour substitute appearances.
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Although Aaronson joined Marsch at RB Salzburg only midway through the 2020/21 season, a quirk of the Austrian Bundesliga afforded the young American a chance to experience the head coach’s preparation work for the second half of the campaign.
It might not have been the full Marsch shebang but it was still intense, says the 21-year-old.
“So it was like a kind of a pre-season because in Austria, you have the pre-season, like summer pre-season, but then you also have a January pre-season,” he told the YEP.
“So I had a January pre-season under him and it’s a little bit different. It’s not as long but yeah, it’s tough, it’s a lot of fitness so then we’re all ready to be fitter and stronger than all the other teams.”
Kristensen is more of a veteran when it comes to Marsch and pre-season. He arrived at Salzburg in the summer of 2019 and outlasted the head coach, who departed last summer for RB Leipzig. The Dane expects to enjoy himself at Thorp Arch.
“If it’s the same as it was in Salzburg then it’s fun, but it’s of course tough because it’s pre-season and it has to be,” he said.
“But it’s a lot of fun, it’s a good time to get the group together.”