Getting to the World Cup semi-finals requires a very high level of physical endurance indeed.
No slacking off or cheat days for the England lads. They’re under immense pressure to uphold extraordinary levels of fitness and skill, not just for themselves but for their team and country.
And I for one have renewed respect for these guys after realising just quite how strenuous their World Cup 2018 preparation actually was. ….
Back in June, manager/national treasure Gareth Southgate reportedly brought his squad and support staff together at St George’s Park for an intriguing announcement.
Southgate then surprised his men by informing them they were off on a 48-hour trip, and this certainly wasn’t for a relaxing spa break complete with massages and pedicures.
In preparation for the challenges ahead in Moscow – the squad secretly hit a commando training centre in Lympstone, Devon.
New images have surfaced showing the Three Lions training hard with the Royal Marines, and the exercises look seriously intense…
On arrival, the players had their phones, jewellery and personal belongings taken from them. They were then put into uniform and taken to a special training area where they were taught all about survival tactics.
Their first night was spent living in the woods, where they had to forage for their own food. Their lives of luxury were put aside as they went completely back to basics.
And the following morning didn’t prove any easier. The young squad were taken to the Royal Marines’ gruelling endurance course. Not for the faint-hearted, this is two miles of tough-going tunnels.
'It's coming home'! The crew of @HMSLedbury wish the @England football team the best of luck in the semi-finals this evening! @RoyalNavy @NAVYfit @BBCSport @FIFAWorldCup @CaptainMFP @COMUKMCMFOR #WorldCup @England pic.twitter.com/NPzS1Eurjk
— HMS Ledbury (@HMSLedbury) July 11, 2018
According to Sky News, Southgate explained:
We wanted to come and put the guys into a different environment, something they weren’t expecting,
The marines talk about a dislocated expectation, and that was part of the theme of the camp – how will we be adaptable in moments of difficulty for us as a team?
We wanted to expose the guys to an elite environment with one of the elite forces in the world. We wanted them to see that there’s another world out there.
Southgate revealed how the full-on training improved the bond between teammates, and has even led them to putting their phones away at dinnertime.
This is indeed quite a feat in itself for a bunch of Instagram-friendly millenials…
According to Sky News, training centre commandant Colonel Mike Tanner was impressed by the work ethic shown by the England team:
They threw themselves into every challenge with enthusiasm and good humour.
The Royal Marines and England football team have much in common and the opportunity to share experience was valuable for us all.
The educational weekend resulted in lasting friendships. Some members of the squad have reportedly remained in touch with the Royal Marines, who continue to send them supportive messages.
According to The Sun, Sgt Keiron Prosser gave the following account of the messages exchanged:
It’s a two-liner from the guys, saying well done, we’ve seen bucket loads tonight, they’ve got their minds on things, so for us it’s reminding and enforcing we are there for them.
They are united under the Three Lions – same as the green beret for the Royal Marines.
It seems like this team-building challenge has really paid off. The players have worked brilliantly together throughout the tournament, displaying a real sense of a shared goal and destiny.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.