Conor Coady has revealed what it has been like for him and his fellow England stars to train in Qatar’s heat.
The Everton defender, who is part of the Three Lions squad for this year’s World Cup, also spoke openly about the controversies surrounding the host nation.
Gareth Southgate and his England players touched down in Qatar on Tuesday as they begin their preparations for the tournament, which begins on Sunday when Qatar and Ecuador face off.
They have been training in 33 degree heat in the Middle East in order to get used to the local climate, even though fellow Group B side Wales have pushed their sessions back to later in the day.
Coady spoke to the media on Thursday and was asked if training in such heat and humidity was a problem. He said: “It was hard this morning. We trained this morning and it was a long session, it was something we needed as a team to get used to it, to feel it, to understand it.
“It’s tough, of course it’s tough, I’m not going to sit here and say it’s not tough but we’re professional players. We understand what we’re doing and training this morning was fantastic. It’s a different environment for us, something we want to take on board as quickly as possible.
“That’s what people want to enjoy, it’s a World Cup, no matter when it is in the time of the year. It’s in the winter now, we’re here in 30 degree heat but we want to enjoy it as much as much as we can.
“Going out there and overthinking the heat or thinking it’s too hot, it’ll get us nowhere so we’re going out there to embrace it, to enjoy everything that comes with it and just enjoy playing in the sun, we don’t get it too often back home do we, so just enjoy it.”
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This year’s World Cup has been surrounded by controversy, with many concerned over Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and their poor record on LGBTQ+ rights.
When questioned on the matters regarding the host nation, Coady replied: “I think from our own point of view we’ve spoke about it as a team, we’ve come together and had a chat about it in terms of meetings and different things, as players, as staff, as a team as a whole as well.
“We’ve said the same thing all along, from our own point of view is that we really believe that football is for absolutely everybody. That’s what we believe as a team, believe as people, believes as players ourselves. That’s what we want to focus on.
“We’ve come to a country where we will respect rules and we will respect everything that goes on in this country.
“We’re all here for one thing and thats to play football but in terms of what we believe in as a team and what we believe in as players, that is football for all and everybody to be included in our great sport.”
LGBTQ+ England fans have said they do not feel comfortable going to Qatar due to the country’s views on homosexuality.
Coady soon responded to how sad it is that a large section of Three Lions fans don’t feel they can travel to support the team: “Of course it is.
“We want every England supporter to come and support us. They push us, they drive us, they always do that no matter what competition it’s at.
“That’s what we want as a team but like I said, we will keep on believing in what we believe as a team, as players, to try and help but at the minute we’re in a situation where we’re here and we will respect everything that’s going on in Qatar, but we stand for what we stand and we will keep on moving forward with that.”
England’s first game will be against Iran on Monday afternoon, with talkSPORT providing live coverage of the match in Qatar.