Revealed: The hotel with three golf courses England are planning to stay at for Euro 2024

Revealed: The hotel with three golf courses England are planning to stay at for Euro 2024
Golfresort Weimarer Land is a hotel with 45 holes of golf

After avoiding some of the high-ranked nations lurking in the draw, Gareth Southgate also avoided the play-off teams so can start planning for the Euros immediately. He wants his squad based in a remote town called Blankenhain at a resort that boasts two golf courses.

The draw at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall was a good evening for Southgate. Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia were drawn with them in Group C and the planning will start immediately. There will be no waiting around for March for the last of the qualifiers to be decided.

Southgate’s preferred training camp for the tournament is Blankenhain, a quiet town 90 minutes from Leipzig with a population of less than 7,000 people. Golfresort Weimarer Land, a hotel with 45 holes of golf, has been checked by Football Association officials ahead of the draw, with the final details yet to be confirmed.

England have stayed away from the metropolis of city centres during tournaments. They were in the woodlands of Repino outside St Petersburg for the 2018 World Cup, then four years later were at Al Wakrah south of Doha on the beach.

“The plans will be solidified over the next couple of weeks. Obviously there is a lot you have to go through but it means we can really start to focus,” said Southgate.

“From our perspective the nice thing is being able to plan properly now. You are not waiting for one of the play-off routes and you have your three opponents. We know where our games will be in terms of where we want to be based and dates-wise we can now look at when we want to leave England and it puts our next stage of planning in place really.”

Blankenhain would be in keeping with Southgate’s being relatively isolated between matches to concentrate on training. The town is close to Erfurt, which has an airport. And having two 18-hole golf courses plus another nine-hole course will be expected to go down well with players.

Revealed: The hotel with three golf courses England are planning to stay at for Euro 2024
The two 18-hole golf courses plus another nine-hole course will keep players busy in-between matches

Southgate has confirmed there will be no repeat of the 2006 World Cup in Germany when the squad was based in the Black Forest spa resort of Baden-Baden and it became a media circus with the players’ wives, girlfriends and family members centre stage. But tournaments are now becoming routine for Southgate and his team in terms of their training environment, and also the expectation of winning.

The big difference between this Euros and the last will be Jude Bellingham. Last time he was a squad player, this time he is a match-winning Galactico for Real Madrid and was the name on the lips of other managers. Southgate also has Harry Kane getting used to life in Germany before the tournament with his freescoring form at Bayern Munich.

Do they lift England to potential winners? “Well, players do, Argentina are ranked number one in the world, France are ranked number two in the world, good players make better coaches, make good teams, of course we all want to play our part but in the end the game is about players and you need good ones if you’re going to win football matches,” said Southgate.

“Harry is a fabulous player, the games are a little bit different at the moment at Bayern, they dominate the games so much that he’s playing a lot higher so it’s interesting to see that, but, yeah, nobody needs to tell us to have Harry Kane in our team, he’s a very, very special player, again, he’s won so many games for us, not just with his goals, which are an obvious factor, but his play, his passing ability, the way he leads the line, we’re fortunate to have to have him.”

The draw also sparked memories for Southgate. Slovenia were the second opponents when he was caretaker manager of England and it needed a stunning save from Joe Hart to secure a goalless draw. “But for Joe Hart plucking our one of the best saves I’ve ever seen, I wouldn’t be standing here and I would probably still be a caretaker but at something else,” he said.

Southgate’s team will open their tournament against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen and they have only played at Arena AufSchalke there once before, when they lost to Portugal on penalties in 2006 when Wayne Rooney was red carded. Their second match of Group C will be against Denmark in a re-run of the semi-final in 2021.

“When Denmark came out first you think ‘okay, interesting’. Of course everyone was thinking about Italy in the lower pots and Croatia. But I have to say Serbia are a very dangerous opponent,” added Southgate. “You look at Serbia with a centre-forward like Aleksandar Mitrović and you have to be very careful about assuming things with these draws.”

Revealed: The hotel with three golf courses England are planning to stay at for Euro 2024
Aleksandar Mitrovic will be a danger man for Serbia - AP/Darko Vojinovic

While Southgate was looking at a favourable draw, Scotland were facing up to one that was rather more tricky. Steve Clarke’s side will open the tournament against hosts Germany in Munich, while also facing Portugal and Hungary.

Clarke told the BBC: “It’s nice to open the tournament and nice to be involved in that first game and hopefully we can set the tournament off with a good match.

“We’ve got to make sure it’s not about the occasion and it’s about the match. We look forward to it, it’s an exciting draw.

“I don’t think it mattered who we were going to get, it was always going to be exciting for us. (It is) nice to be involved in the draw process and (we are) looking forward to next summer now.