Irdning welcomes England's stars
If Fabio Capello wants his players to get away from the pressure that's bound to build as the World Cup edges closer, then he definitely chose the right location for the squad's training camp.
When you travel to the village of Irdning in Austria, as I did last week, stress is not a word that immediately springs to mind.
Nestled high up in the Alps, it is a spectacular setting. The team's hotel is a converted castle which is more than a thousand years old. When you stand on the hotel's patio you look out over a landscape dominated by snow-capped mountains. A little lower down in the valley is Irdning, a village with a population of just 2,600.
So what's the England squad doing there? The main reason is the altitude. England's opening match at the World Cup against the United States will be played in Rustenburg, which is 1,500 metres above sea level.
A two-week training trip to the Alps is seen by Capello as perfect preparation. It's not the first time that he's been there. Capello used to take his Real Madrid team to Irdning for pre-season training.
I was only in Austria for 24 hours, but it was hard to escape the excitement that some of the world's best-known players are coming to town. The locals talked excitedly about David Beckham's visit with Real Madrid four years ago. One woman told me how she'd been walking down the High Street when Beckham jogged past her. Apparently that brought the village to a standstill, although that would hardly have been difficult in a part of the world where life doesn't seem to move much faster than a snail's pace anyway.
Beckham certainly left his mark in 2006. A number of people proudly show off their photos with him. One, David Gabriel, was a teenager at the time. He got chatting to Beckham in the local nightclub (more about that later), and told me that once he'd persuaded him to pose for a picture, he cheekily asked the player if he could have a pair of his boots.
"Beckham was really friendly. He told me to come down to the training ground the next day. After training he came over to me and gave me his football boots. They had his initials on them, and the names of his sons."
Many people would have kept the boots as a memento that would last a lifetime. David Gabriel had a different idea. "I decided to put them on eBay" he said. "They were sold for 3,000 euros. Somebody in Switzerland I think. I spent the money on new football clothes and going out."
Anyway, back to the nightclub. I'm sure that Fabio Capello will keep his players on a tight rein in Austria, and I can safely predict that he wouldn't be overly impressed if he glanced at one of the nightclub's flyers.
The England squad arrive in Austria on Tuesday en route to the Alps
Friday night's entertainment is highlighted as 'Millions of Dreads'. The flyer promises "hot go-go girls" and half-price whisky and Bacardi. Don't expect to hear about any England players roaming the streets of Irdning on Friday if their coach has anything to do with it.
Above all, though, I can say with some certainty after my trip to Irdning (I wasn't there on a Friday night by the way!) that the England squad is guaranteed a very warm welcome in this small Austrian village.
It's beautiful, the training pitch looks to be in excellent condition and the hotel is first class. England's journey to South Africa begins here, and the people of Irdning are determined to give the squad the perfect World Cup send-off.