Roy Hodgson looking to learn from past mistakes in planning for Rio
England will travel to the US for a pre-tournament training camp
England manager Roy Hodgson
The English Football Association expects to finalise its preparations for the World Cup this week, announcing a string of friendlies and signing contracts for training bases as Roy Hodgson considers how to create a harmonious atmosphere in his camp.
The FA is today expected to confirm friendlies against Germany and one other, non-European, nation at Wembley in November. Uruguay had been pencilled in but they must now contest a play-off against Jordan on the same dates.
A friendly with Denmark at Wembley will follow in March, before a final match to send the team off in May in the week after the Champions League final.
Hodgson’s squad will then travel to the United States for a pre-tournament training camp, stopping off in a northern city to play a friendly against the USA. The plan is to then travel to Miami and train there before playing a final friendly and travelling to their tournament base in Rio de Janeiro five days before their first group game.
The FA is confident of signing a contract to stay at the Golden Tulip hotel on Sao Conrado beach and will train at a nearby naval base.
Much of the detailed planning may have to wait until after the draw on December 6th, which will decree England’s group stage opponents and where the matches will be held.
Games in the south of the country should take place in temperate conditions, but the weather will be much hotter in northern venues such as Recife and Fortaleza.
Recalling his previous experience of taking a side to a World Cup, with Switzerland at USA 1994, Hodgson said that creating the right atmosphere for his players would be key.
“It’s an unbelievably delicate balance and furthermore there’s no correct answers,” he said. “It’s not quite trial and error but the fact is there is no answer – you’re going to be away for four or five weeks and you’ve got to learn to live away from your family and friends and your normal life and that’s not a normal thing to do.”
Since Fabio Capello’s squad was sent stir crazy in their remote gilded cage in Rustenburg in 2010, the FA has favoured an approach that emphasises the need for the players to be “good tourists” and soak up the tournament atmosphere.
But Hodgson was clear he did not want a repeat of the “German situation”, where Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Baden Baden base became a tabloid circus. “Being away from home is never easy and it is something which has to be discussed. I am sure we will come up with the right solution and hopefully we won’t have any repeat of the Germany situation,” he said.
Hodgson, who plans to consult the England cricket head coach, Andy Flower, and the British & Irish Lions coach, Warren Gatland, said he had not yet given any thought to whether the players should be accompanied by their partners and families.
“As far as wives and girlfriends are concerned, I know that has been a major topic in the past but that is one we will deal with in time and it is something which hasn’t actually crossed by mind,” he said.
Hodgson said he would approach advice from other sports with an open mind. “I’m very interested to hear how they approach things. It will be interesting to talk to the Lions people as well.
“They have long periods away from home because they go so far. I’m all ears. Any information we can get to improve our knowledge, the better it is.”