The bulk of England's World Cup squad jetted out of Heathrow this morning for the first of their two altitude training camps in Austria.
Twenty-four players, including Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, accompanied Fabio Capello on the trip, the only men missing being the five who were involved in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley, plus Gareth Barry, who continues to have treatment on the ankle injury that makes him a major doubt for South Africa.
Given the week of turmoil back home, starting with the ill-advised 'Capello Index' concept and culminating in the seismic events of yesterday, when Lord Triesman was forced to quit as chairman of the FA and the 2018 World Cup bid, it was probably a relief for the England team to get away.
There had been concerns that on-going difficulties with the ash cloud that has forced flight restrictions across the UK, might force Capello into a drastic rethink of his plans.
Concern was also expressed about the potential for holidaying players to get stuck prior to departure but happily neither proved to be the case.
Capello has chosen a base close to the small town of Irdning for the start of England's World Cup challenge.
The Italian is determined his players should be fully acclimatised to playing at altitude before they head for South Africa on June 2 even though two of their opening three Group C matches will be played at sea level.
England will return from Irdning on Sunday, prior to their friendly with Mexico at Wembley a week today, they will then return to Austria on May 26 and complete their preparations with a friendly against Japan in Graz on May 30.
Capello is due to name his 23-man squad on June 1.Reuse content