'Teams that handle the downtime best have a greater chance of success'

Dealing with boredom at a tournament is a problem that has foxed England in the past

While the decision of the former England manager, Fabio Capello, to set up camp in Poland's second city, Krakow, has been widely derided as ludicrous given that the team's group games are all being played in neighbouring Ukraine, it might well be that the choice is considered particularly shrewd come the end of Euro 2012.

When mapping out the competition logistics, it was clear that the Italian was mindful of the flaws that conspired against England in South Africa two years ago. They were cooped up in a hotel complex playing video games and missing out on the World Cup carnival across the country. They were there to focus and do a job, but they ended up doing it excruciatingly badly.

England are now led by Roy Hodgson and they will visit Auschwitz next week ahead of their first game, providing a chance to reflect and to bond. Capello's squad were not stimulated nearly enough in 2010, and a lapse in preparation can separate the eventual winners from the perennial underperformers, according to former Scotland defender David Weir.

"The boredom is a struggle to be honest. It depends a lot on your location and we were fairly isolated," Weir said, looking back on his own experience at France in 1998. "The teams that handle it best are the ones who have the greater chance of success, because you can't manufacture the home environment.

"There is definitely a danger that the longer you are in that closed environment it becomes a strain and you're almost relieved when it ends. You start focusing on that rather than the football. If you do get a break from it you generally handle it better, otherwise it can end up being a chore."

Realising the need for respite from the tedium, Hodgson will allow his players to explore Krakow in the afternoons after training sessions. They are, after all, likely to be inquisitive as to what a place has to offer. The fact that they have been deprived of that in the past is wrong, says Derek Fazackerley, who was Kevin Keegan's assistant manager at Euro 2000: "When you go to these competitions, not being able to drink in the culture is sad in some ways for the players because they are fantastic occasions. The colour and entertainment that fans from all the regions of Europe bring is fantastic. "

Hodgson has the temperament to strike the balance between the two tournament managers who preceded him. Capello was too strict; Sven Goran Eriksson too soft. This England manager aims to get it just right.

Weir believes there is a definitive art to organising a trip like this, stating that the senior players have a huge role to play behind the scenes. "They have to make a comfortable environment for everyone. Invariably it's not your first-choice XI that become the team in the games that really matter, so everybody needs to feel needed, because they will play a role at some point," he pointed out.

Technological advancement since Weir was involved means there are more distractions than ever. The defender said he read books, watched DVDs and pined for home. But now, unlike defending champions Spain, England players are able to use Twitter to communicate with supporters, hopefully forging a relationship with the public, while Fazackerley was keen to point out that external business interests, used in a positive way, can also help.

But the former assistant's verdict was clear: "If they win the games, boredom won't even be mentioned. If you lose, people ponder over whether enough preparation was done planning the downtime."

Capello was clearly attempting to rectify his previous poor judgement. It is now the turn of his predecessor to leave absolutely nothing to chance in order to create England's winning environment.

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit