England are in a race to secure one of Germany's best training camps for Euro 2024 next summer, with manager Gareth Southgate insistent on a private training base to avoid a repeat of the Baden-Baden fiasco at the 2006 World Cup.
The late-night partying and lack of regard for locals from England fans as well as many of the players’ wives, girlfriends and families turned England’s stay in the Black Forest spa town during Germany ’06 into somewhat of a farce.
England and the FA have opted for more serene, countryside training camps away from supporters and families since then. While Fabio Capello banned players’ families from seeing his squad at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Southgate has permitted it in a controlled way during his tenure, and will do so again.
“Somewhere where we can be a little bit on our own”, he said, when asked what he is looking for as he and the FA plot a training base for the tournament next summer.
“We need that nice contrast of relaxation and areas where we can work. You want to minimise travel where you can, but within the FA, our staff are really good at picking those venues that I think the players will enjoy and will feel comfortable in.
“You basically want to be somewhere where everything that's going on around you, you can zone out from really but somewhere with facilities that are good for working.”
Asked whether they might base themselves in Baden-Baden, the England manager replied: “Well... no! I wasn't involved in that tournament so I don't know how all that was, but we have a great environment with our players.
“We want their families to be able to go and enjoy the tournament as well. We normally welcome them in at various times. It changes the dynamic of the hotel, especially if the kids come in. I think those elements are important for the players.”
He added: “There are various things [to consider]. There is basically a catalogue and you've got to get in early on certain venues, or you can try and go off the catalogue and do something different. We've had both options available to us and we are looking forward to finalising all of our plans.”
England are in pot one for the Euros next summer and will learn their group-stage opponents at the draw on December 2.
“It doesn't really matter [who we draw] in the end”, Southgate said. “From our perspective, we're just content with whatever comes out and we just have to deal with it. They're all different sorts of challenges.”