INTERNATIONAL footballers received something of a culture shock when they underwent three days of intensive pre-season training with Army instructors at Catterick Garrison.

Physical training instructors from the McKay gym at the infantry training centre put the stars from Bradford City, who were relegated from the Premiership last season, through their paces three times a day.

The first team squad included internationals like Scotland's Stuart McCall, Benito Carbone of Italy, Holland's Robert Molenaar and former England star Lee Sharpe, who were preparing for a three-match tour of Northern Ireland before the start of the new season.

Skipper McCall was the first to admit that the tough regime, which included sleeping in a barrack room, had been physically shattering, but extremely worthwhile.

"It has been a massive culture shock for the lads," he said. "From the training to the barracks, everything has been a shock.

"We were absolutely exhausted by the time we got to bed. We have been working a lot harder than we expected, but it has been brilliant for team building."

The variety of the training, which included an assault course, steeplechase run, circuit training and specific exercises for arms and legs, made the visit an enjoyable one, he said.

However, the ten-mile run at 6.30am on the final day was less than popular.

McCall added: "Although it has been very, very hard and competitive and we have been a bit stiff and rusty, it is just what we need to bring all the lads together.

"It has been really enjoyable and will help us a lot for the new season."

Manager Jim Jefferies said that, although it was early in their preparation, the training had been an ideal way of bringing the players together before the challenge of trying to get back into the Premiership began in earnest.

"Obviously, we were bitterly disappointed to be relegated last season and we will be doing everything in our power to rectify that this season," he said.

"That includes testing the players as hard as we can in pre-season training.

"The army instructors have been great - really helpful, but really firm. It's been smashing and we could not ask for more, although I don't think the players would want any more.

"The intensity of the training has been greater than even I expected.

"The rooms are not exactly Hilton standard. Highly-paid footballers are used to five-star hotels, but this brings them back to reality.