MENTION the name Gian Piero Ventrone to those who have been put through their paces by him and it will send a shudder down their spines.
The 62-year-old fitness coach from Naples is Antonio Conte’s right-hand man – charged with making Tottenham’s stars stronger physically and tougher mentally.
Tottenham fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone is the hard taskmaster getting Spurs stars in shapeCredit: Getty
Harry Kane hunched over before being sick after Ventrone’s session on Tottenham’s South Korea pre-season tourCredit: MBC LIVE
Son collapsed to the floor after Ventrone’s hard drillCredit: @thespursweb
Taking on the role of drill sergeant, this week one of his famed sessions on Spurs’ pre-season tour in the humidity of South Korea saw talisman Harry Kane puke his guts up on the pitch at the Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Local hero Son Heung-min was seen collapsed to the ground on the side of the pitch.
‘The Marine’, as he is known in his homeland, just looked on with a wry smile on his face.
Ventone made the squad do up to 42 laps of the 105metre-long pitch, with those coming back late from international duty doing 30.
That was after they had an hour and a half of training drills, rondos, one 10 vs 11 two-touch match and then an 11 vs 11 game.
But that’s what football’s leading stars have come to expect when they’ve worked under Ventrone.
Conte, a hard-working midfielder in the 1990s, first encountered Ventrone as a player at Juventus.
“He was great at understanding his limits,” Ventrone said in an interview with FourFourTwo.
“To compensate, he would always apply himself to the utmost with hard, focused training.
“Every year he was called into question, but in the end he stayed at Juventus and became their captain. He won it all for himself with work and sweat. He took that experience into his coaching.”
When French legend Zinedine Zidane agreed to join the Serie A giants in 1996, he asked international team-mate Didier Deschamps what he could expect in Turin.
The current France manager was quick to warn Zizou about Ventrone before his arrival.
“Deschamps did tell me about the training sessions but I just didn’t believe they could be as bad as all that,” he told the Italian media.
“Often I would be at the point of vomiting by the end, because I was so tired.”
Zidane, who won his only Ballon d’or while at Juve, has credited those drills for his physical transformation.
But amusingly, Gianluca Vialli wasn’t as convinced.
The former Chelsea star was once so incensed with Ventrone following one particular session, he reportedly locked him in a cupboard and called the police.
It might have been his methods that the Italian striker didn’t agree with.
Antonio Conte first encountered Ventrone when he was a player at JuventusCredit: Getty
Ventrone has several mottos, including ‘die but finish’Credit: Getty
‘Bell of shame’
Ventrone’s mottos sum up what he believes a player needs to do to get the best out of himself.
“Work today to run tomorrow”, “die but finish” and “victory belongs to the strong” are just some statements he will repeat to Tottenham’s cohorts during drills.
Back in his Juventus days, he would hang a ‘Bell of shame’ wherever the club trained, even in pre-season when they travelled further ashore.
The idea was it had to be rung by the first player who had to give up during a session.
It’s Ventrone’s theory that such a tool would provide “a stimulus to overcome one’s limits”.
Classical music also comes in – with Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries played loudly through a speaker during moments when training hits fever pitch.
It’s no secret that Tottenham’s fitness levels markedly improved last season under Conte, with Ventrone supported by fellow fitness coaches Costantino Coratti and Stefano Bruno, as they pipped rivals Arsenal to a top-four finish.
Next season, expect them to be even fitter as Conte and Ventrone get a full pre-season to work with their squad.
Ventrone has earned the respect of players like Son Heung-Min for his gruelling sessionsCredit: Getty
Conte, Ventrone and Costantino Coratti will push Spurs’ stars to their limits during pre-seasonCredit: Getty
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.