Squad set for ten day training camp in USA ahead of Colombia.
FIFA U20 World Cup
29 July - 20 August 2011
Click here for fixtures
Click here for World Cup match schedule
By Nicholas Veevers
England U20s set off for the USA today, as preparations for the FIFA U20 World Cup Colombia 2011 begin with a high altitude training camp in Colorado.
The Young Lions squad
met up in Hertfordshire on Thursday before jetting off on Friday to spend ten days in Denver using the facilities of MLS outfit Colorado Rapids in order to help acclimatise to the conditions they will face in South America.Brian Eastick’s
side face their first two World Cup group games against Korea DPR and Argentina in Medellin which has a height of 1500m feet above sea level. To put that into context, the highest football stadium in England is West Bromwich Albion’s Hawthorns at 168m so with Denver being situated at 1600m above sea level, it represents a good chance for the squad to prepare in the right conditions.
“Having spoken to the sports science people, it’s clear that we need a minimum of about eight days to acclimatise, so we’re going to Colorado for ten days,” revealed Eastick ahead of the trip.
“The Colorado Rapids Head Coach Gary Smith has been really helpful to us and I’ve been over there to speak to him and do the recce, so we will have some great facilities to work in.
“The altitude in Colombia for our first two games is roughly 1500m above sea level and that is almost exactly the same altitude as Denver, so that’s worked out quite nicely for us.”
After those first two games, it’s back to sea level for the final group match against Mexico in Cartagena, a city on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia.
But with what Eastick believes is one of the toughest draws England could’ve had in the competition, the Head Coach knows it isn’t going to be easy whatever the conditions may be.
“I was there for the draw in Colombia
and when the balls were pulled out of the hat, I was a little bit disappointed because I knew it was a very tough draw,” he admitted.
“But having recognised that, it’s also a great challenge and if you’re going to go to South America, you might as well play the best teams as that’s the test.
“It’s a tough draw and we’ll do our homework on the opposition.
“Mexico and Argentina will be used to playing in that climate and altitude so that will be a big advantage for them but at the moment we’re looking at Korea and hopefully we can win that one to start with and go into the following two games in a good shape of mind.”