Wigan Athletic star reveals 'tough' grounding is secret
Graeme Shinnie says Wigan Athletic's invaluable late shows this term stem from a pre-season he regards as his toughest for a decade.
And as well as the character and work ethic, Shinnie credits that consistent ability to go to the end to the fitness levels in the camp.
"The pre-season programme was tough - one of the toughest I've had," he said.
"In recent years, it's not been too bad because of Covid, all the seasons have seemed to merge into one, and at Aberdeen we were in the Europa League so there wasn't a lot of time off.
"This was probably the toughest pre-season I've had for 10 years, since working under Terry Butcher at Inverness.
"He was very old school, and it was very much an army camp for a good week and a half.
"And I actually like that, I'm that kind of a player where running is a big part of my game.
"This summer training was hard, we put in a lot of work, double sessions, triple sessions, sometimes even four sessions a day.
"And I think that's been reflected in the games, we're coming on strong later on and it's showing in the results.
"But also the character and the work ethic is also testament to the boys and the way we're playing."
Shinnie is currently enjoying his best run of games since joining from Derby - who were in administration - in January.
"It was tough when I first came here," acknowledged Shinnie, speaking on the ‘Progress With Unity’ podcast.
"Obviously there was a lot going on at Derby, with admin, and we weren't so much thinking about football as keeping the club going.
"The move all happened so quickly, and it was tough, because I loved the club and the fans.
"But I had to go, and Wigan was a big club that I was delighted to come and join.
"With the team doing so well, though, it was very difficult for me to break in.
"I had a little run of games, but there were a few other changes - Tendayi (Darikwa) to left-back, Max (Power) to right back - and I felt it upset the rhythm of the team a bit.
"That's why the manager reverted to what he had before January, and to be fair it worked.
"There were so many games, but the boys handled it tremendously well, and I had to just sit there and take my medicine, and I couldn't complain.
"I was obviously desperate for the lads to get promoted back to the Championship, and I knew what I could do in this league.
"I just focused on working hard, enjoying it with the team, and then getting my head down in pre-season and giving it my all, and aiming for a fresh start.
"I've never been one to be banging on the manager's door, I knew this season would be my time to shine, and to be fair that took me a little bit of time as well."