Nine players miss England's open-doors training session in preparation for Euro 2012

 

England's open-doors policy to their Euro 2012 quest continued this morning with a public training session at their base on the outskirts of Krakow.

The absence of nine players from the main session, in addition to Jermain Defoe who has returned to England following the death of his father, spoiled it slightly for the 3,500 invited guests.

Still, John Terry and Steven Gerrard, who were amongst those who did pool and gym work, came out at the end to sign autographs.

Today's session was part of a concerted effort to be "good tourists" and avoid the negativity that followed England's World Cup exit in South Africa, when they were based at a remote location in Rustenburg.

The locals lapped up Wayne Rooney lashing home the goals, although as he is suspended for England's opening two games and was paired with Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck, if there were any indications from this session about Roy Hodgson's likely team for the Group D opener against France in Donetsk on Monday, it was that the manager is edging towards partnering Ashley Young with Andy Carroll.

That Stewart Downing was curling over crosses from the left, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain operating in a deeper position, may also be a pointer towards the Liverpool winger starting against the French, although such is the subterfuge involved in top-level football these days, nothing can be taken for granted.

The nine players who missed the main session - eight of whom who could well start on Monday - included Ashley Cole, who was said to be a fitness doubt.

However, the Football Association were at pains to stress all these absences were planned after a tough session behind closed doors yesterday and were part of the individual players' rehabilitation programmes.

After lunch, the players are going to split into two camps, with Rooney and Joe Hart among half a dozen who will visit Auschwitz along with manager Roy Hodgson and FA chairman David Bernstein.

The remainder were due to visit Oskar Schindler's factory on the outskirts of Krakow.

There appeared to be no repeat of the racist abuse UEFA today acknowledged Holland's black players suffered during their own open training session on Wednesday.

PA

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