Preseason is so often the most detested time for professional footballers, but for Arsenal's injury-plagued midfielder Jack Wilshere it couldn't come soon enough.
The 23-year-old was on top form at the end of the last campaign as Arsenal successfully defended the FA Cup by beating Aston Villa 4-0 in the final and scoring twice for England in their 3-2 win away to Slovenia in Euro 2016 qualifying.
It was a positive end to another mixed campaign for the young midfielder, who again spent too many months off the pitch recuperating from injury after damaging ankle ligaments in November.
"Yeah, it's a strange one, I finished last season quite strong after missing quite a big chunk of last season which was frustrating and I got back to my best form just towards the end," Wilshere said on 14 July.
"I didn't really want it to end but had a nice couple of weeks off and I'm here ready to go."
Like Wilshere, Arsenal also endured their frustrations last term as a bright second half of the season failed to make up for a sluggish start. They eventually finished third, 12 points behind London rivals Chelsea, who stormed to the league title.
Arsenal's last league title came in 2004 but Wilshere was optimistic the arrival of goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea and a cohesive squad could end that barren run.
"We think we have a great opportunity, we are really strong now. When you bring a guy like Petr Cech, you know we're serious about things: you know he's a winner; he's been there; he's done it; you know he's a great character to have around; his experience is invaluable and you know we have strong players through the team as well. We have players that have had a year to settle and we have got a great team spirit here which is going to help us," he said after launching Arsenal's new away kit for upcoming campaign.
"When you win the first trophy it makes you hungry for more, to add another one straight away, and then we have another one coming up with the Community Shield and we want to win that one and hopefully we can win the Premier League as well."
Arsenal, though, are not the only title challengers who have been recruiting in the off-season, with Manchester City and United both splashing cash on high profile acquisitions, such as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Raheem Sterling in recent days.
"I wouldn't say I'm worried," Wilshere said of the activity of their rivals. "It's going to make the Premier League interesting.
"United have improved, City are improving, Chelsea are going to be as strong as last year but we have gone up a level from where we were. Last season was a big step up for us, back-to-back FA Cups and third in the league so we are confident about next season."
For Wilshere, the importance of a strong preseason both personally, with Euro 2016 coming up, and for the team was not lost.
"I'm looking forward to it. Its important for me to get a good pre-season in and when the season starts we have got to be ready," he said.
"We haven't got a European (Champions League) qualifier this year, which is nice, so we have a little bit more time to get ready and concentrate on the Premier League for the first couple of weeks and really get off to a good start."