The Algarve’s combination of world-class sporting facilities, relaxing scenery, balmy climate and healthy living made it the ideal place for the England football team to prepare for the World Cup between 19th and 23rd May.
The Three Lions squad, including manager Roy Hodgson, could be seen warm-weather training at the upmarket Vale do Lobo resort this month. And like most visitors to this part of Portugal, when England’s football stars were given the odd hour or two of down time, a number of them headed to the golf course. This included Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, both keen golfers.
Many of the squad will have felt immediately at home in Portugal, as both Vale do Lobo and neighbouring Quinta do Lago are popular spots for holidays with British sports personalities, with a handful of footballers, including Rooney, Gerrard and Owen, said to have second homes in the one of the smart, tree-lined boulevards.
Roy Hodgson said: “Since the start of the training camp there has been a tremendous feeling of energy. It has been a very good three days. This is an excellent place to have a training camp and we have been very well looked after here. We wanted the facilities and a chance to get away together.” He added: “We are very happy with the facilities, the pitch and the place. Portugal remains one of our favourite places to come to.”
Player Leighton Baines added: “It’s a nice set up we have here and it is great for the lads to be able to go and get a game of golf after training hard.”
Exclusive Vale do Lobo is just 20 minutes from Faro airport and boasts two of the most popular golf courses in the Algarve, the Royal and the Ocean.
England’s first World Cup match is against Italy on 14th June, but before then they have a friendly against Peru.