Football: MATT: I'M TIRED OF BURY-ING.
MATTY Fryatt admitted that being battered black and blue in Bury was the driving force behind his close-season fitness drive.
Fryatt is determined to make an impact this season as Walsall attempt to bounce back to Division One at the first attempt.
And the 18-year-old has put himself through a punishing weights regime in a bid to bulk up and beat off the bully boys of the second division.
Fryatt made his debut for Walsall last season and also scored his first international goal for England's Under-18 side against Sweden.
But it was his loan spell at Carlisle United last season that made him realise he needed to pile on the pounds in order to be successful.
Another 18-year-old - Wayne Rooney - is showing the value of physical presence by unsettling a host of star names in Portugal.
While Rooney is reaping the rewards of upper-body strength on the international scene, Fryatt found out its value in far less salubrious surroundings.
'There are some bruisers in the third division,' he said. 'When I played against Bury they had four monsters at the back and I can remember one player in particular - Danny Swailes - who battered me all game.
'I actually played against them twice during my loan spell and I didn't really look forward to the second meeting!'
Walsall's demotion to the second division means there is likely to be more graft than craft needed next season.
With that in mind Fryatt decided to hit the gym, but he has no desire to be an Arnold Schwarzenegger lookalike.
'I decided that I needed to be stronger this year and have been toning up on weights this summer,' he added. 'I have put a stone on in weight but I don't want to be a muscle-bound beefcake who can't get around the pitch.
'It is a question of toning up my physique and converting the puppy fat. Muscle is heavier than fat and that is why I have added weight.'
With the Saddlers not due back until July 1, Fryatt intends to keep up with his fitness programme so that he starts pre-season training with a bang.
'This is a big season for me and I want to make sure I am in the best possible shape,' he continued.
'The manager has already said that he is going to give youth a chance this year.
'I want to make sure that I play a big part in the team and that it is a big season for the club.'
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|Publication:||Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)|
|Date:||Jun 20, 2004|
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