England stars are expected to enjoy the luxury of a five-star golf and spa resort during next summer’s Euros, with the Football Association set to finalise their training base camp in the coming weeks.
The FA and England boss Gareth Southgate have been keen to avoid a repeat of the WAG circus that overshadowed the 2006 World Cup as the Three Lions return to Germany for a major tournament.
Southgate indicated earlier this month the Three Lions will not base themselves in a big city, like Berlin and Hamburg, to prepare their assault on the Euros.
Following last weekend’s draw England are expected to confirm the Golfresort Weimarer Land as their training base, with the resort located close to the town of Blankenhain.
Mail Sport takes a closer look at the training base and what the England squad and their families can expect during next summer’s tournament.
England are expected to confirm Golfresort Weimarer Land as their Euro 2024 training base
The resort in Germany will host Gareth Southgate’s squad as they seek to win the Euros
The training base comes with a 45-hole golf course which will please a large part of the squad
The venue is a far-cry from the 2006 camp, which proved a playground for players’ WAGs
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England beat rivals to luxury golf resort base
The five-star Golfresort Weimarer Land was not included on UEFA’s 100 strong shortlist of what the governing body considered to be the best hotel and training facilities across Germany.
However, the FA have reportedly decided on the location and are claimed to have seen off competition from Austria for the training base.
Germany outlet Bild claim Austria boss Ralf Rangnick had been keen to base his side at the resort having been well aware of the ‘tranquility’ of the surroundings during his time at RB Leipzig.
The base is near to the town of Blankenhain, located just 90 minutes from Leipzig, one of the host venues for the tournament.
Blankenhain is a 30-minute drive from Erfurt, where the nearest airport is located while Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park is the closest stadium. The venue is set to host England’s second group match of the tournament against Denmark on June 20.
The location appears to fit the needs identified by Southgate of giving the squad manageable travel times, as well as facilities to keep them occupied during down time.
‘We need that nice contrast of relaxation and areas where we can work,’ the England boss said earlier this month.
Southgate highlighted the need for a Euros training base to provide places to relax and worl
The resort boasts one and a half training pitches aimed at catering for top international sides
Werder Bremen, Rangers and QPR are among the teams to have previously used the base
The Three Lions stars will be able to relax and recuperate in the resort’s two swimming pools
‘You want to minimise travel where you can but within the FA our staff are really good at picking venues that the players will enjoy and feel comfortable in.
‘You want to be somewhere where you can zone out from everything that’s going on around you, but somewhere with good facilities.’
The resort itself, unsurprisingly given the name, features a 45-hole golf course. The facilities are sure to delight the likes of Harry Kane, with the England skipper a member of both Wentworth and Beaverbrook golf clubs.
Golfresort Weimarer Land says it has one of the most spectacular golf courses in Germany.
Players will have the option to play one of two 18-hole golf courses, as well as a smaller nine-hole course.
England’s proposed base importantly includes training pitches where the Three Lions will seek to plot their way to the final in Berlin on July 14.
The facility was built in 2021 to FIFA standards with the aim of providing perfect training conditions for top international football teams.
The resort says the one and a half football pitches are located by its Goethe Golf Course, adding that its seclusion offers ‘ideal and best conditions’ for football training camps.
England will be able to use the resort’s two swimming pools and fitness centres throughout the duration of the tournament.
England’s coaching staff will be able to use a series of conference centres to plan for matches
A fitness and wellness centre is located on site with several treatment facilities available
The resort has two 18-hole golf courses, as well as a smaller nine hole course for players
The resort also includes an award-winning spa and wellness centre, offering seven treatment rooms. Conference rooms are also available for video analysis, while shuttles are available to the site.
Leisure facilities also include snooker, table football and table tennis, with running and e-bike routes also available.
Werder Bremen, Rangers and QPR are among the teams to have previously held training camps at the resort, with the Three Lions due to become the latest top side to visit the base.
Golfresort Weimarer Land boasts seven restaurants which would offer the players a series of catering options.
The golf theme is in evidence by the names of the restaurants, with both Augusta and Masters paying homage to one of the sport’s four majors.
The later offers of fine dining experiences with Mediterranean Francophile cuisine.
England’s chosen base has a total of 94 rooms, suites and family suites, costing roughly £300-per night.
The resort comes with 94 rooms, suites and family suites, costing roughly £300-per night
Southgate has suggested England players families will be invited to visit the Euros camp
The suites come with a bedroom and spacious living area which is split over two floors
Blankenhain is no Baden-Baden
England’s return to Germany for a major tournament will immediately spark memories of their famous Baden-Baden base during the 2006 World Cup.
Sven Goran-Eriksson’s side were beaten by Portugal in the quarter-finals, but their performances were overshadowed by the social escapades of the squad’s wives and girlfriends.
The WAGs became front-page news during the tournament and were accused of being a distraction to the players.
England swung dramatically the other way during the 2010 World Cup, where Fabio Capello’s training camp at Rustenburg in South Africa was likened to a prison camp.
Southgate has stressed the need for a balance, with the England boss keen to involve player’s families but also avoiding a Baden-Baden repeat.
‘I wasn’t involved in that tournament so I don’t know how all that was but we have a great environment with our players,’ Southgate said of the 2006 World Cup.
‘We want their families to be able to go and enjoy the tournament as well. We normally welcome them in at various times. It changes the dynamic of the hotel, especially if the kids come in, and those elements are important for the players.’
‘Really we want somewhere where we can be a little bit on our own.’
England are seeking to avoid a repeat of Baden-Baden in 2006 L-R: Victoria Beckham Coleen Rooney’s Sister, Coleen Rooney, Louise Owen and Elen Rivas – then fiance Of Frank Lampard
England’s 2006 exploits were overshadowed by the social escapades of the squad’s wives and girlfriends. Pictured: Michaela Henderson-Thynne (centre, former girlfriend of Stewart Downing) And Elen Rives (right, ex-fiancee of Frank Lampard)
Blankenhain is the nearest town to the resort and has less than 6,000 local residents
Blankenhain’s main attractions include a 12th century castle and a pharmacy museum
Blankenhain is located close to Erfurt, which will offer transport links across Germany
The resort has highlighted its ability to cater for all ages, stating children can explore a play house, while organising kids golf and treasure hunts, should families be invited into the Three Lions camp.
England will hope the camp lives up to the claim that the resort will provide an ‘oasis of well-being for body and spirit where all your needs are fulfilled.’
The population of Blankenhain demonstrates the secluded nature of England’s training base, with less than 7,000 people living in the small town. By contrast, the spa town of Baden-Baden has a population of around 55,000.
Unlike Baden-Baden, WAGs will have a challenge if they want to let their hair down in the town.
Blankenhain’s main attractions include a 12th century castle, which has been turned into a museum dedicated to German agriculture and rural life, as well as a ‘unique’ pharmacy museum.
The town – known for its lime trees – claims its picturesque surroundings give its visitors the chance to ‘forget about everyday life and enjoy nature up close.’
Should players and their families wish to venture away from the base, the cities of Weimar and Erfurt are nearby, along with the university town of Jena.
The training base selection appears to fit with previous picks from the FA during the Southgate era.
England were located at a beach base at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they stayed in the coastal town of Repino north of St Petersburg.
The Three Lions similarly stayed at the beach resort of Al Wakrah near Doha during last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
England will hope to be using their German base until the final in Berlin on July 14, as Southgate’s men bid to go one step further than Euro 2020.