Cardiff City rid of big egos, says Anthony Gerrard
Anthony Gerrard says the atmosphere and spirit in Cardiff City's dressing room has improved beyond recognition after a summer of significant upheaval.
The Bluebirds have lost 12 players from last season's squad, and Malky Mackay has replaced Dave Jones as manager.
"The dressing room is a lot more friendly," said 25-year-old Gerrard.
"There aren't that many cliques and not many egos. Everyone's getting on fantastically well. That bodes well for a happy team and a happy environment."
Despite being a regular performer in the Cardiff side in his first season after his 2009 move from Walsall, Gerrard was sent on a season-long loan to Hull City in August 2010 after falling out of favour with Jones.
He suggests that a clash of personalities cost him his place in the Cardiff side.
"I'm not a quiet character. If I've got something to say, I'll let people know about it," said Gerrard, who was voted the Hull supporters' player of the year last season.
"If that didn't help me, so be it. But I'm not the type of person to pull any punches. If something needs to be said, I say it. And I'm not a doormat.
"That's the strong character I've got. If I'm in the wrong, I'll hold my hand up, but if not I'll stand up for myself and say what I've got to say."
Gerrard returns to a Cardiff squad undergoing a huge rebuilding process, having lost many of last season's high-profile players, such as Jay Bothroyd, Michael Chopra and Craig Bellamy.
Mackay has so far recruited nine new faces, but no new centre-backs have arrived, meaning Gerrard will battle with Mark Hudson, Gabor Gyepes and Dekel Keinan for a place in the back four.
And despite having to impress a new manager and gel with new players, Gerrard does not view it as a fresh start.
"The fans and everybody else know what I could do from my first year in the Championship, coming from League One," he said.
"I helped Cardiff get to the play-off final. I wasn't selected for the final, as everyone knows, but I don't feel I need to prove anything to anybody this year. I thought I did that in my first season.
"Unfortunately I got sent out on loan. So I went to Hull, picked up player of the season so I couldn't have done much more to be honest on a personal level.
"I think a lot of people in Cardiff were gutted that I left to be honest. I thought I could've helped them out."