CHRIS GUNTER believes Reading FC have returned from their pre-season tour in Holland as a better team than last season, writes Courtney Friday.

Royals endured tough training drills and high intensity matches during their trip to Oosterbeek and vice-captain Gunter revealed the squad benefitted from the experience.

“We’ve had some real good training sessions and competitive games so it’s been a really good trip,” declared the Welsh international full-back.

“It was a long 10 days out in Holland – pre-season tours are like that. I don’t think many players enjoy pre-season too much, everyone wants to play in games where points are at stake.

“W worked on a lot of things as a group, so we come back home a better team and a better squad for those 10 days.”

Royals failed to muster a single win from their four matches in the Netherlands, but Gunter insisted pre-season results are not as important as building match fitness.

He continued: “It’s about making sure when you get to the first game of the season, we’re in the best shape possible.

"The games out in Holland have been helpful; everybody has played two full ninety minutes pretty much, some of the new boys have settled in well, a couple have come back into the squad.

“And it’s been helpful for some of the young lads to come away with the group. We enjoyed a few dinners together and we played a bit of golf, things we don’t always do back home. That is also what pre-season is about.

“Everyone has settled in, we’re closer to the big start at QPR. We definitely came back a better team than the one that went out there.”

Reading are due to face Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem in their final pre-season friendly at Adams Park this Saturday (3pm ko).

The match is taking place in Wycombe while Royals’ new £800,000 pitch at Madejski Stadium beds down.

Stam’s men begin the 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship campaign with a trip to QPR on August 5.