Rooney stars behind closed doors
- 18 Jun 06, 02:19 PM
BADEN-BADEN - England's "open" training sessions in front of the media are hardly the most informative of affairs.
The 15 minutes allotted usually allows you enough time to confirm international footballers can run, stretch, jump, and play a clever little game where one player stands in the middle and his team-mates torment him by passing the ball around him.
Injury doubts can be ascertained by checking which players are missing from the running and jumping bit.
They can usually be found in a treatment tent, or in the case of the recovering Wayne Rooney, working alone with a ball, a few cones and a fitness coach for company.
In other words, you rarely learn anything you don't already know from the "open" part of training as England understandably try to keep their plans under cover.
What I can confirm, however, was that Wayne Rooney was impressing his team-mates hugely away from the media's prying eyes today.
Jamie Carragher could not disguise his admiration as he told me Rooney demonstrated his brilliance during the session with a long-range volley straight from a corner that hit the bar.
And he added that you would not be able to tell Rooney had been out injured for so long if you had watched him in training.
Yesterday's closed session was followed by the daily press briefing - and a bit of a shock to the system.
The FA has provided the media with a superb air-conditioned tented area in which to work, complete with wireless internet access and a plentiful supply of nosh to suit all tastes.
Players are normally paraded in purpose-built rooms, again cool and air-conditioned, seemingly perfectly-suited for them, FA officials and the media.
So we were surprised to be told the players would not be using the available rooms and instead we would have to assemble at the side of the training pitch under the baking sun to grab a word.
The signal to go into the interviews was greeted like the start of the London Marathon, with an undignified scramble for pole position, followed by some unlikely contortions to shove your tape recorder somewhere in the general direction of a player in a bid to get a question or two in.
While all the time the giant air-conditioned rooms remained mysteriously empty...answers on a postcard.