The FA has chosen the ForRestMix hotel in Repino for its right balanceof climate, comfort, security, training facilities and travel times
England will base themselves in a remote hotel near St Petersburg for the duration of their Russia 2018 campaign regardless of how the balls come out in Friday’s World Cup draw, Gareth Southgate has revealed.
Speaking to reporters in Moscow on the eve of the big reveal, the England manager said the Football Association had chosen the ForRestMix hotel in Repino, a village on the coastal road towards the Finnish border, because it offered the “right balance” of climate, comfort, security, training facilities and travel times.
The 32 teams at next summer’s World Cup were given a brochure of options by the organising committee and the FA went through what Southgate described as a “long process” to choose the right base.
Explaining that he wanted exclusive use of a hotel in order to give his team somewhere to “switch off without being disturbed”, Southgate said security was also a factor.
“You can’t get the perfect scenario that ticks every box: climate, travel, training ground, distance to the training ground, distance from the hotel to the airport,” he said.
“But we feel we have ticked as many of those boxes as we can.”
With Russia 2018 being staged in 11 different cities in the world’s biggest country, Southgate was asked if the FA would change its mind about Repino if England were drawn to play games in the more distant venues of Ekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi or Rostov-on-Don.
“No, not at all. We have researched it and, in terms of the travel, the longest flight is three hours,” the former England defender said.
“That’s nothing – all the players are travelling that sort of distance for Champions League games, maybe double that on some occasions.
“For our last game at Wembley we drove down by bus (from St George’s Park in Burton) to The Grove (near Watford) and that was three hours.
“So this isn’t a situation like we had in Brazil (at the 2014 World Cup) where Manaus was a six-hour flight.”
The 47-year-old said the FA had also researched the impact of moving from relatively cool northern Russia to the warmer venues in the south and found there was no advantage to be gained by trying to acclimatise before games – in fact, the south’s heat might have a negative effect in terms of training.
A veteran of the 1998 World Cup and two European Championships, Southgate is keen to break down club-based cliques. He is also a big admirer of how rugby union’s British and Irish Lions have used player committees to enforce team discipline.
When asked about recent comments made by former England stars Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard on how club rivalries had caused problems on international duty, Southgate said it was something he had experienced, too, but hoped to overcome.
“The club rivalry will always exist but I think we have a different situation where a lot more of our players have grown up not only playing together through the under-21s, but even in age groups before that.
“There is a really tight feel and St George’s Park has helped that so I do think we have a different situation with this talented squad than they were in.”
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