Mark Sampson enjoying England training in La Manga

Thursday 16 Jan 2014
England Women's Head Coach Mark Sampson takes training in La Manga.

Mark Sampson said he was delighted with how his first week has gone as the new England Women's Head Coach.

The former Bristol Academy boss has taken a 30-strong squad to La Manga for their annual bout of warm-weather training.

The week will be brought to a close with an international against Norway on Friday.

Mark Sampson talks to FATV

Mark Sampson is enjoying his first trip with England Women.


And Sampson told how positive his first few days with the squad have been.

He revealed: “My first emotion would be incredibly enjoyable.

“It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to. It’s the first opportunity to meet the players, meet the staff and integrate as a group.

“It’s been really enjoyable and beneficial. There are a lot of things we wanted to get through this week, which I think we’re well on track to doing."

Sampson this week explained to his team what he expects from them both as people and players - what he calls his "non-negotiable qualities" - and he is pleased with how well received his ideas have been.

He added: “At the moment we’re trying to be sensible in terms of how much we commit to. It’s important for us to get to know the players and see how we’re going to play and how we’re going to work.

“I think the most important message this week is the things we expect from them as people in terms of their work ethic, their togetherness and their ability to compete on a football pitch and in training sessions.

“Those type of things are non-negotiable for us. You need to make sure that every time you cross the white line, whether you play for your club or your country, you deliever them as elite players.

“The players have been very receptive to that and hopefully they’ve been taking it on board."

Watch England Women training in La Manga.


Sampson continued: “I like the ambience of the group. There’s lots of smiles on faces but there’s a serious element as well.

"On the training pitch we’ve been very competitive, lots of tackles gone in, lots of blocks. But we also want to make sure it's a fun environment.

"I like that. I like that there’s a nice balance between being serious and having the opportunity to relax as well."

The 31-year-old's first opponents on Friday afternoon are the Euro 2013 runners-up.

England's annual La Manga training camp usually encompasses at least one behind-closed-doors game (they play Republic of Ireland on Thursday), but Friday's international, Sampson's first in charge, has given the players, and management, even more of a focus.

Sampson said: “I love a game. Everyone loves a game. It would have been a long week for us to not play a football match.

"To have these two games at the end to give every single player the opportunity to get some minutes, I think it’s a big, big positive for us and I’m really looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to seeing them play.

“I’m really excited by the talent we’ve got and the way they’ve embraced the ideas we’ve given them.

“What a fantastic challenge for the players and the staff and no better way to start.”

By Glenn Lavery La Manga