Preseason can be an incredibly important time of year for some players.
Whether they need to regain fitness or impress a manager, the weeks leading up to the opening day can be crucial in setting the tone for the rest of their season.
One player who you feel probably falls into that category is Aaron Cresswell.
The West Ham defender fell out of favour somewhat towards the end of last season as injuries and an upturn in form from Arthur Masuaku conspired to keep him out of the side.
On his day, however, the 29-year-old is more than capable of usurping his teammate for a starting role, and so he will no doubt have gone into the closed season with high hopes.
1.5 tackles and 2.1 clearances last season [Whoscored] show a player who was said in his contributions, but who could also give a little more.
By the sounds of it though, the England international hasn’t exactly come flying out of the blocks.
Writing in a piece for Football.London, Sam Inkersole was fairly damning in his verdict on the full-back.
He said: “With [Ben] Johnson impressing on the tour that has put a boot up Cresswell, who is now under serious pressure for a starting berth in Pellegrini’s team.
“Cresswell needed a good pre-season to out Masuaku but the emergence of Johnson as a creditable threat to his place means he needs to get up to speed quickly.
“Missing the Altach game didn’t help and he looked incredibly rusty, far more so than some of his teammates, in China.”
All in all, things are looking relatively bleak for Cresswell. Not only does he have Masuaku to contend with, but also the young and versatile Ben Johnson, who made his Premier League debut against Manchester City earlier in the year.
You feel that the more experienced option could still have a role to play for the Hammers next season, but unless he can pull his finger out sharpish, he could find himself way down the pecking order.