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The 26-year-old midfielder has been used in a number of positions by his manager throughout pre-season, and admits he is a fan of the Italian's methods to get the squad fitter

Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner says he is a fan of Paolo Di Canio’s tough pre-season training programme.

Di Canio admitted he has been training the squad a lot harder than under Martin O’Neill ahead of the Black Cats' first Premier League fixture against Fulham on August 17.

And Gardner, who has played a big part in Sunderland’s pre-season games, believes the hard work will help the side achieve success next season.

"[The training] is tough, I admit it, but it is a good tough because training is hard,” Gardner told reporters.

"I am a firm believer that the attitude to training should be the same as it is in life generally.

"If you work hard in life you get a good life. That is what we are doing as far as training is concerned, so hopefully we will have a good season."

Gardner has been used in a number of positions during his time at Sunderland, with Di Canio deploying him as a right back against Manchester City in the Barclays Asia Cup final.

And the 26-year-old is happy to switch positions in order to make more appearances.

"I just want to play as many games as I can this season, no matter what position it is," added Gardner.

"I would rather play anywhere than be on the bench. I am playing in pre-season. I have played four full games and I am enjoying it."

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