How are England staying entertained in their covid bubble?

sportsmole.co.uk, 11 June 2021, 12:58
Basketball, Game of Thrones and Uno are just some of the ways Harry Kane and his England team-mates have been filling their time ahead of the European Championship.

The squad heads to London on Saturday to prepare for their Group D opener against Croatia.

The Three Lions get their Euro 2020 campaign under way at Wembley on Sunday, having spent the week preparing for the game at their St George's Park base.

With a Covid bubble in place around the squad, Gareth Southgate's 26 players have had to entertain themselves within the confines of the training campus.

They were already showing their competitive edge by dominating the media in the now-familiar darts contest as Southgate, Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka all left the press conference marquee victorious.

Despite plush rooms and games consoles, traditional card game Uno appears to be a surprise hit among the players - with Jadon Sancho praising the ability of a potential future Manchester United team-mate.

"Just been playing Uno," the Borussia Dortmund winger told Radio 5 Live's Daily Euros podcast. "I'm very good. Luke Shaw is very good. He's tactical, he reads your mind."

Saka explained the reasons behind his "little chilli" nickname on Wednesday and will have been hoping to be hot on the hoops of the basketball court.

"I have been playing basketball with the boys, table tennis, pool," he said.

"Then we have a nice spa, I have my PlayStation with my boys back home and we have been playing Uno as well. You are never really bored here."

Ben Chilwell, meanwhile, explained the rules on the court and how it has united the squad.

"They've got a basketball court down there and that is something I enjoyed playing at school so I was the first one down there on the court," the Chelsea full-back told the Official England podcast.

"There is a group of us, around 10, who play a knockout game there in the evenings. It's a fun way to pass the time in the hotel.

"There is a good group and you feel like you're not away on international duty, you're just with your friends at the park playing. It brings us closer together."

For Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, it was a case of the simple things that put a smile on his face.

"There's a lovely smell. The smell from the reception to the rooms was lovely," he said in an interview with talkSPORT.

"Normally when you come with England you're travelling, you're on a plane, you go somewhere.

"It's moody, you get to a hotel, the hotel's moody. You're there, you've got football to play, you enjoy your football, you get back to the hotel. It's boring.

"Coming here, somewhere you've been for many years. You know everything about the place and it's just nice to be on home soil for once and breathing some great British air and the weather's nice outside and I can't stop smiling!"

As well as the boredom breakers and the serious work of training sessions and team meetings, the players all had their rooms individually kitted out to make them feel more at home.

"It's unbelievable, there's everything in there," said Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.

"There's so much stuff. They've done a great job to be fair. I think they tried to make it as homely as possible. There were so many nice touches.

"I went into my room thinking it'd be a normal room but then there's was photos of my family around the room and one of my dog which made me happy."

Captain Kane, meanwhile, said he was planning to shun much of the physical activity to binge on a well-known boxset.

"We've got a cricket pitch and we might get a bit of golf in, but it's more around the hotel," he said.

"Boys will be playing PlayStation and things like that, but I've just started Game of Thrones, believe it or not.

"I've got a nice little period to finish that off and it'll be finished before the end of the tournament...I might take it and have the odd game of Fortnite, but not as much as I used to."

If the camaraderie and good mood around the camp plays a part in a victory over Croatia on Sunday afternoon and takes England further into the finals - Kane will be hoping he may need another series to watch or find himself having to hone his Uno skills.

Top News

today at 15:09 mirror.co.uk BBC receive over 6400 complaints after coverage of Christian Eriksen collapse The BBC has received 6,417 complaints over its decision to continue broadcasting as Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen received emergency treatment during his country's Euro 2020 game against Finland, reports the Press Association. today at 14:51 mirror.co.uk Carabao Cup first round draw in full as clubs learn of early 2021-22 season fate Manchester City have won the competition in all of the last four seasons, and will lie in wait in the third round once clubs have emerged from the early season fixtures today at 14:33 mirror.co.uk Gattuso appears to explain rejecting Tottenham manager's role with "mess" texts The Italian was in talks to be appointed as the new Spurs boss this summer but their lengthy search for a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho has not yet ended - but it will not be the former AC Milan and Napoli coach today at 14:30 mirror.co.uk Papa John's Trophy draw live as Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal learn fate The groups for the first stage of the 2021-22 Papa John's Trophy will be finalised today as the draw is made ahead of the coming season. today at 14:11 talksport.com Liverpool's potential XI as Mbappe 'asks to leave' and £50m midfielder linked Liverpool surrendered their Premier League title with a whimper in 2021, barely managing to scrape into the Champions League places at the end of the season. today at 14:08 talksport.com Sign Calvert-Lewin and White, build team around Saka - Arsenal legend outlines rebuild After a hugely disappointing campaign for Arsenal, the pressure is now firmly on Mikel Arteta to deliver a challenge for the Champions League places next season. today at 13:53 talksport.com Ronaldo thanks Iran legend Daei - 'True champions remain champions forever' Cristiano Ronaldo has thanked Ali Daei after the Iran legend congratulated him for equalling his all-time goalscoring record in international football. today at 13:40 sportsmole.co.uk A statistical look at the group stage of Euro 2020 The Euro 2020 group stage is complete with a number of statistical trends showing up. today at 13:08 mirror.co.uk Minamino's fresh transfer admission, Klopp hint and Liverpool "project" Takumi Minamino has spoken about his Liverpool future after being loaned to Southampton last season as he looks to stay put and fight for his place under Jurgen Klopp today at 13:07 mirror.co.uk Pogba responds to claim he's been subtly hinting at Juventus transfer at Euros Juventus are regarded as one of the foremost suitors for Paul Pogba and there have been suggestions in the Italian media that the Manchester United midfielder has been hinting at a transfer back to Turin today at 12:52 sportsmole.co.uk Manchester City to hijack Manchester United's Raphael Varane deal? Manchester United reportedly face fresh competition from rivals Manchester City for Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane. today at 12:43 sportsmole.co.uk Arsenal 'confident of new Emile Smith Rowe contract' Arsenal are reportedly confident of tying young midfielder Emile Smith Rowe down to a new long-term contract. today at 12:36 mirror.co.uk Saka finally explains why he took his England shirt off when Sterling scored Bukayo Saka raised eyebrows by taking off his shirt while celebrating Raheem Sterling's strike against Czech Republic, despite the goal coming in just the 12th minute today at 12:28 sportsmole.co.uk Romelu Lukaku dismisses talk of Manchester City, Chelsea move Romelu Lukaku has once again played down talk of a possible return to the Premier League by declaring that he is "happy at Inter Milan". today at 12:24 sportsmole.co.uk Caoimhin Kelleher pens new Liverpool contract Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher has pledged to continue pushing first-choice Alisson Becker after signing a new contract. today at 12:22 mirror.co.uk Cristiano Ronaldo's comments on Lionel Messi as he's linked with Barcelona move Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo is currently at Juventus where he is contracted until the summer of 2022, but he has been linked with a move away from Italy and potentially back to Spain today at 12:17 sportsmole.co.uk Donny van de Beek 'wants Premier League stay amid Arsenal interest' Donny van de Beek is eager to remain in the Premier League should he leave Manchester United this summer, according to a report. today at 12:05 sportsmole.co.uk Real Madrid 'resigned to losing Raphael Varane this summer' Real Madrid are reportedly becoming increasingly resigned to losing centre-back Raphael Varane this summer. today at 11:33 talksport.com Batshuayi 'knew he was f*****' after goal celebration ended in humiliation When a goal goes in, no matter if you're a player, a fan, or even a manager, sometimes delight simply cannot be contained. today at 11:29 talksport.com Gilmour should pick Norwich over Rangers for experience as O'Hara teases McCoist Jamie O'Hara just can't resist a dig at Scottish football, can he? today at 11:29 sportsmole.co.uk Lucien Favre 'agrees three-year Crystal Palace deal' Former Borussia Dortmund manager Lucien Favre has reportedly agreed a three-year deal with Crystal Palace to succeed Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park. today at 11:28 sportsmole.co.uk Gianluigi Buffon opens up on rejected Barcelona move Former Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has opened up about why he rejected a move to Barcelona and opted to rejoin Parma this summer. today at 11:27 sportsmole.co.uk Jamie Carragher baffled at Raheem Sterling to Tottenham Hotspur links Jamie Carragher has admitted that he is baffled at rumours of Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling being used as a makeweight in a deal to sign Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane. today at 11:25 sportsmole.co.uk Leicester City set to win race for Ryan Bertrand? Leicester City will reportedly win the race to sign Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand, whose contract at St Mary's expires next week. today at 11:24 mirror.co.uk Jose Mourinho proved spot on after bullish Bukayo Saka claim Bukayo Saka was one of England's better performers against Czech Republic on his major tournament debut for the Three Lions while Jose Mourinho has history with the Arsenal ace today at 10:58 sportsmole.co.uk Harry Maguire trains individually ahead of Germany encounter Harry Maguire trained away from the main group on Thursday morning as England began preparing for their Euro 2020 round-of-16 clash with Germany. today at 10:31 mirror.co.uk Joshua Kimmich details the areas Germany need to improve before England clash Germany will take on England in the Euro 2020 knockout stage at Wembley on Tuesday having barely escaped their group of Portugal, France and Hungary today at 10:30 talksport.com Top ten most expensive Premier League transfers ever: Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal stars could be joined by Jadon Sancho this summer The summer transfer window is open once again and the Premier League could well have a new record transfer this summer. today at 10:15 talksport.com Arsenal need to sign White as club told of 'struggle' to attract big names David Seaman insists Arsenal need to be realistic in their ambitions in the transfer window - but has backed the Gunners' pursuit of 'quality' Ben White. today at 09:47 sportsmole.co.uk Five talking points ahead of the Euro 2020 knockout stages Euro 2020's last-16 line up was completed on a dramatic evening as three-times winners Germany left it late to secure qualification.