Brighton & Hove Albion under-23 defender George Cox admitted it was mentally important to have a break after the 2018/19 campaign, and is now excited to get back to work and grasp any opportunities that come his way.
Cox’s loan spell at Northampton Town last season was interrupted due to an ankle injury, but the full-back returned towards the end of the season to help the Cobblers to a 15th-placed finish in Sky Bet League Two.
The 21-year-old and his team-mates were back at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre on Friday morning, and the defender reflected on an enjoyable period of rest ahead of the upcoming season.
He said, “It was a good summer break, having some time off to relax but also get prepared for next season.
“Mentally, I think I needed a break because it was a tough season, but physically I didn’t feel like I needed time off, because I just started getting back into the swing of things.
“In your head you know you can’t come back unfit, you’ve got to be ready. You do some running and personal training over the summer, but you’ve got to make the most of your time off as well.
“You’ve got to have two or three weeks with a clear head, and then the other part of your break has to be spent on preparing for what’s ahead.
“I think you’re always eager to come back in and see the lads, but I wouldn’t say I missed them too much — it’s nice to have a break after seeing each other every single day!”
Cox made five appearances for the Cobblers after securing his first loan move to an EFL club, and he’s focused on making the most of the experience, as he looks to impress after returning back for duty.
“There are different types of lessons I can take from my loan last season, not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well.
“With a lot of disappointments and setbacks last year, I learnt a lot about myself. On the pitch, there’s definitely things I can take away and use for next season.
“The aim is to play for Brighton. With a new manager, it’s a clean slate for everyone. I’ve got to be ready to take any opportunities that come my way.”