SIMON Walton has only been a Hartlepool United player for less than a fortnight – but already he has been taken by the work ethic of his new team-mates.
It was a harsh introduction to life in his new surroundings as the 24-year-old found himself thrust into Pools’ very own version of “The World’s Strongest Man” competition at Maiden Castle.
Boss Neale Cooper admitted that Walton had been pleading to see a football after two days of tossing tyres and pulling sleighs.
The painstaking, pre-season work has continued at Pools’ northern Netherlands boot camp this week, with the players even put through a session on the morning of Sunday’s game against Telstar.
And Walton told SportMail: “The sessions have been hard work but they’ve been enjoyable all the same.
“I’ve got to say, the lads here certainly put the work in – they work their socks off!
“That’s what you want, though, because it drags everyone through and the standards are pretty high.
“I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen.”
Pools will tonight sign off from their Dutch tour when they face Almere City in Heiloo and Walton says the European getaway has been ideal for bedding into his new club.
“The lads and staff have been top notch and there is a good feel around the place,” said the midfield ace, who was Pools’ star man during the 2-0 defeat to Telstar.
“I’ve been made to feel right at home.
“I didn’t know any of the lads when I signed but you soon forget about that and this trip has been ideal for me really.”
This evening’s game will be played on the artificial surface at Stadium “de Basis” and Walton went on: “I’m not too sure about the plastic pitch, I must admit.
“I wouldn’t like to play on them all of the time but it’s another chance to get some valuable minutes before we step things up again back at home.”