Day four (Thursday) in Tenerife was a rest day for the players, with them having completed five sessions since arriving at the T3 training complex in La Caleta, with Wednesday’s one of the toughest yet.
With that in mind, Ian Henderson has had a day off from doing his daily vlog, but we’re sure he’ll update you all tomorrow, talking you through the importance of a rest day. We didn’t want you to be kept out of the loop, though, so you’re stuck with my (Leighanne's) take on the day this time around.
Is everyone enjoying Hendo’s video diaries? We hope you’ll agree that they’ve been a great addition this year, given that they provide a first-hand insight into what life is like on the pre-season camp for the players.
Going back to Wednesday, according to Hendo, the Gaffer, before the session, told the players to make sure they were prepared mentally and physically, to fuel up and be adequately hydrated because it was going to be the hardest session they’d do to date.
The lads trained later in the day, at 2pm, in the baking heat. After a ball-based warm-up, they moved onto the full-size pitch at the bottom end of the complex. The players were split into teams and they went up against each other in a 11v11 scenario, with the game split into 12-minute segments. At the end of each segment, they then sprinted 200 meters, and so it continued for 2-hours, before it culminated in them having a cool down in the pool.
The sessions are meticulously planned, which I’m sure will come as no surprise if you know anything about the Gaffer, and the 2pm start time was specifically chosen so everyone, staff and players included, would have time to get back to the hotel, get showered/ changed, have a bite to eat and get settled down for the England game.
While I’m sure many would like to mark such an occasion with family, doing it with a tight bonded group is definitely the next best thing. All the players went out together for a meal to watch it, while all the staff who are on the trip, from the Chairman to Manager Keith Hill, to Callum Jones our Head of Analysis and we, the media team, watched it together.
There was obviously huge disappointment at the end of the game, as everyone had believed England would do it. But for one member of the group, Greg Jones, after the initial sadness, it turned into a sigh of relief for him that his bank balance would remain intact, and that he could go to his girlfriend’s graduation on Monday. See Greg, in his life before working full-time with Rochdale Football Club was an avid follower of England all over the world, even going to the Euros in 2016 - and had booked tickets for the World Cup Final, through the official ballot, should the Three Lions get there. This all occurred many months ago, and as Gareth Southgate’s men continued to make their way through the competition, the realisation soon came that he’d be in Tenerife when the game was kicking-off. Randomly, there is actually a direct flight from Tenerife South to Moscow, so there was a plan in place just in case England were in the final. We couldn’t not let him go.
After the game, we all lounged around, dissecting the game and what could have been, before retiring to our respective rooms. With Thursday marked as a rest day, I, this morning, went for breakfast at the much later time of 9am, where I met up with Greg and Jack the Kitman. The dining room was much quieter than usual, as most of the players had either come down early and had gone back to bed, or were leaving it as late as possible. There was only the Gaffer, Joey T, Ollie Rathbone, Daniel Adshead and Stephen Dooley eating when we got down there.
For us, the media team, a day such as this is an opportunity to catch up with content/ work that needs to be ticked off, so we can go into the next part of the week on an even keel. Having chatted to Ollie at breakfast, we roped him into doing an interview with us, and with a few bits and bobs needing boxed off, we headed up to the T3 for a couple of hours or so to make use of the wifi.
As for the players – some stayed in their room to sleep, others went for a swim and we know at least one caught up with a few episodes of Love Island. Anything relaxing to charge the batteries ahead of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I must admit, a bit like the Game of Throne craze, I haven’t got onboard with Love Island either. I must be the only one, right?
After tea, Jack the Kitman resembled the Pied Piper, as me, Greg, Jordan Williams, Brad Wade, Dan Adshead, Matty Gillam and Aaron Morley followed Jack out of the dining room, through the hotel and up to the kit room so the players could pick up their freshly washed and dried training gear, ready for the morning.
An early night is instore for everyone tonight, including me, so I’ll bid you goodnight for now.