Butland: Rangers squad ‘on board’ with Clement’s fitness regime

The manager has explained the reasons for extra conditioning work.

Jack Butland says Rangers players have bought into the new attitude to fitness at Ibrox under Philippe Clement.

Immediately after taking over as Gers boss from Michael Beale, the Belgian emphasised his desire for a much fitter and more robust squad.

Clement is unbeaten in five games and, ahead of the Europa League clash with Sparta Prague at Ibrox on Thursday night, Butland spoke openly about the changes he has witnessed.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper said: “He’s bringing everybody in. Sometimes the old ideas of running stupid distances can be a punishment to people, or feel that way.

“He’s made it clear, if people are doing extra running, it’s not as a punishment, it’s to get you up to the standard of the lads who are getting those numbers in week in week out, so when the opportunity comes he will call on those people, because we will need to over the course of the season – they are not a yard off, they’re up to standard.

“When he articulated it in that way, it’s not as if you’re running because you’re not playing or fit enough, you’re doing extra work to get to the levels we need.

“The lads are on board because that works in everyone’s favour. Those guys, it means they are ready and for the rest of the team and club, every player is ready to go when called upon.”

Butland believes Clement’s new fitness methods are part of his aspiration to simplify football at Ibrox.

The former Stoke and Crystal Palace keeper said: “He’s simplified things, he’s made his demands obvious and not clouded.

“There’s been occasions where he wants to improve certain things and aspects, whether it be fitness or whatever, there’s been things that he’s touched on and been sure to come back and give us reasons as to why and backed up his reasons as to why he’s making us do certain things or play a certain way.

“There’s no grey area, I think the lads know what’s expected and he’s included everybody.

“It’s sort of coming together and I guess we’ve seen that in a short space of time. But the way that the manager is and the way that we are with not stopping at anything, we’ve got things that we want to achieve, a lot of work to do and that’s a conscious effort every single day to keep getting better and improve.

“We’ve come a long way I think, still a way to go, but we’re getting towards the team we want to be.”

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