Sweat pads but no saunas – how England are preparing for World Cup heat

The Rio Report

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England players have been running around like black-clad Michelin Men as they've piled on the layers in their Algarve training camp.

The wacky idea is to make sure they are ready for the sweltering heat which awaits them in the Brazilian jungle city of Manaus, deep in the heart of the Amazon, where the Three Lions will play their opening World Cup match against Italy on June 14.

When Roy Hodgson picked the luxurious golf resort of Vale do Lobo for a pre-World Cup training camp, he probably had visions of his squad being put through their paces under the baking sun - but that has not been the case so far this week.

Temperatures in the south-Portuguese resort have barely been over 15 degrees centigrade - and a powerful cold wind blasted through the squad's first and only opening training session at their base on Wednesday.

They'd have been better off staying in Britain: England saw temperatures of over 26 degrees this week, while even Scotland got hot enough to send the mercury over 20 degrees.

So to up their body temperatures and sweat rates in chilly Portugal, Hodgson had the players wearing three layers during the hour-long session.

In addition, Dave Reddin, Hodgson's head of performance services, recommended the players wear special pads underneath their tracksuit tops.

That way, England's medical staff, and three sports scientists who have been brought to Portugal from Loughborough University, can assess how the squad responded to sweating buckets - as they will do in the jungle on June 14 when they face Italy. What it did for their mobililty is another issue entirely...

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England's Algarve training kit?

"The players wore sweat pads for part of today's training," the England manager said.  "We tested how much they sweat, how they will be able recover and what can be best done for them to help them.

"They will be analysed in terms of the extra heat we tried to generate. It is part of our process which Dave (Reddin) and his team have formed - it's about learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

"There are going to be uncomfortable moments (in Brazil) and you've got to learn to get comfortable with that.

"We started off on the first day just with them wearing the extra gear for the warm-ups and then we've increased it.

"When the word came to take the tops off there weren't too many who kept them on. They were very quick to whip them off so it is obviously working."

Humidity levels can reach over 80 per cent in Manaus, so Hodgson wants to do everything he can to help his players reach peak condition ahead of the Group D opener.

It is a far cry from his previous experience at a World Cup when he just bunged his Switzerland players inside a sauna for a while prior to USA '94.

"Compare that to what we are doing now and it was an unbelievably amateurish performance," the 66-year-old said.

Interestingly, the Italian squad have been doing fitness sessions in saunas at their base in Coverciano, Florence.

PA Sport

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