Tour Diary Day 4
Dear Diary. It is coming home.
Day four (well five really but the first was more about travelling) is a rest and recovery day after some of the most testing sessions I have seen in any pre-season. It has been excellent and this season’s squad are going to be a fit lot, but you can possibly overdo things and tired limbs are more likely to get injured so the only requirement today is to come and join the staff for a walk along the beach at 9am.
Luke Garbutt arrived last night and we head back to the beach after the walk to do a quick photoshoot and interview. Then it is a free day and a handful have booked tee times- this area is a golfer’s paradise so the golfers head off while the vast majority of the squad just chill in their rooms for the morning, many stretching that out to include the afternoon. The weather here is as good as we had in Spain and Portugal in the last two years, and due to continue throughout our stay, but why go sunbathing when you have been out in the heat for three days straight?
Someone asks the owner why there isn’t a pool at the hotel. “Look over the road” he says, pointing at the sea “how big a pool do you want, plus I don’t have to heat it!”
The staff are busy all day- a chance to plan and prepare for the next few days and collect all the data and stats. The players have been wearing the black vests that allow the analysts to see how far they have run, what their heart rate is, even whether they are pushing themselves or coasting. Last night a leaderboard was shown for both technical and physical rates. New signing Armani Little is top of both; that's an incredible achievement and credit not just to the shape he is in but also his determination to be fit and ready to impress at his new club. But the top six also included fellow new boys Cameron Norman, Samir Carruthers and Tony McMahon.
Every now and again throughout the day a group of players emerge and go for a stroll but without their electric blue training kit they are far less conspicuous and are left to potter happily around until we all meet up again for dinner and then the England game.
The on site nightclub is closed but they open it just for us and we sit on the dance floor and watch the game unfold on the huge screens. I would love to tell you of the joyous scenes when we win on penalties but I am not going to lie to you diary; by half time there are only a handful of players left beneath the mirror ball because they have retired to their rooms to stretch out and watch it in bed.
Simon Eastwood, late to join us after the arrival of beautiful second daughter, is collected safely from the airport and checks in just as the last of us call it a night too.
Safely through to the quarter finals, England did well tonight. Diary I can’t find anyone in this group who doesn’t think that they can win the World Cup. It’s coming home…