There was a respectfully sombre mood in the England camp this morning as it emerged Jermain Defoe's father Jimmy had passed away during the night. The Tottenham Hotspur FC forward has flown back to England to attend the funeral, but will return for the remainder of the tournament.
That news cast an understandable shadow on the team's first full day in Krakow, but on the positive side manager Roy Hodgson was able to work with the remainder of his squad in his first session at the Hutnik Stadium. Training was closed to the media today, but Joe Hart revealed he was "very happy" with the facilities.
"It was great," said the Manchester City FC goalkeeper. "We were really impressed. It's not far from the hotel and it's an interesting journey. The pitch is perfect, which is all we need to worry about. There's plenty of room for massages, strapping. Whatever's required, it's all there."
Hart allayed fears over the fitness of two key performers: "John Terry was fine. He was flying around like he always does. He doesn't seem to be holding back." Scott Parker was another player under the media microscope prior to travelling, something Hart insisted was much ado about nothing.
"You read and hear about Scott Parker but you ought to actually ask him how he is. It's interesting to see what's written, but if you actually knew the guy and saw what's going on, you'd know he's absolutely fine."
After the press conference we spoke with Hart and Stewart Downing, the fruits of which will soon be available on UEFA.com, although for a brief moment it looked as though our plans to whisk them off to our interview room had been foiled by a broken lift. Thankfully Hart swiftly pointed out that our key card was in the wrong way and all was well. Good to know the goalkeeper's reactions are still sharp at the end of a long hard season.
As well as being one of Europe's most respected shot stoppers, it's no secret that England's No1 is a bright young lad. He carries himself with a natural confidence and his answers are always honest and thoughtful. One of them in particular caught my attention during the press conference. The way he described going into a major tournament as his country's undisputed first choice pretty well summed up how I feel about my role here as team camp reporter.
"It's just amazing to be in these situations. It's not something to hide from. You've just got to enjoy them, know how many people want to be in your place and take the opportunity."
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