Three layers for three Lions as English turn up World Cup heat
England's players are training in three layers of clothing to prepare them for the humid conditions of Manaus, where they play their first game against Italy on June 14.
Roy Hodgson wants his World Cup squad, who are spending this week at a warm-weather training base in Portugal, to sweat as extensively as they will when they play close to the Brazilian jungle next month.
The Football Association's head of performance services, Dave Reddin, exercise scientist Chris Neville, Manchester United fitness coach Tony Strudwick and Arsenal nutritionist James Collins are being helped by three experts from Loughborough University, who can tailor individual recovery drinks with different electrolytes depending on the amount of fluid that is lost through sweat.
"We did sweat testing today," said Hodgson. "We have a T-shirt, a lightweight training tracksuit and on top of that the wet top. Three layers.
"Apparently, it is individual. People sweat differently and need different drinks or whatever. The players went through today's session with sweat pads on and they are being analysed and in terms of the extra heat we tried to generate. Because there are going to be uncomfortable moments and you've got to learn to get comfortable with that.
"We started off on the first day just with them wearing the extra gear for the warm-ups. Then we went to the warm-up and maybe through part of the passing exercises today, then maybe halfway through my session.
"But the interesting thing was when the word came to take their tops off there weren't too many who kept them on. They were quick to whip them off, so it is obviously working."
Temperatures on the Algarve were around 19C (66F) yesterday, more than 10C cooler than they are likely to be when England face Italy in the early evening in Manaus.
Defender Leighton Baines said: "The logic behind it is that if you layer up, once you start to work you get hot and you want to take the layer off. But the idea is to get comfortable with that uncomfortable feeling of getting hot and slightly struggling.
"Each day we have been leaving it on a bit longer, but generally most of us have left it on for the full session to try and get used to it.
"The stuff with the sweat tests I have not experienced before. It is about ticking all the boxes and put us in the best place we can be, so we are prepared for everything."
During training, Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling got their first taste of being in the World Cup spotlight, as cameramen, sponsors and journalists converged on the England camp.
Hodgson gathered 18-year-old Shaw, Sterling (19) and Barkley (20) for a private conversations during the hour-long session. Hodgson claimed it was his first opportunity to tell the trio face-to-face that they were in his squad on merit and should not be daunted by the magnitude of the tournament.
"This was the first session I have actually done myself in Portugal," said Hodgson.
"It leads very nicely sometimes into having a chat with a player. It was just to tell them they are here on merit. Obviously, they should feel pleased they are here, but they shouldn't feel overawed by the occasion because they have played so well and deserve their places.
"It was a simple thing I said in public, but I hadn't actually said it to them. They might have read it in a newspaper but they hadn't heard it from my mouth.
"I haven't detected any nerves at all. I think there was a feeling of relief from some players they got selected because they realised this year my choice wasn't as easy as all that. I think there has been a great feeling of enthusiasm and let's get started on this adventure we have all been looking forward to."
While the selections of Shaw, Sterling and Barkley have been well received, Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have come under fire.
Former United captain Roy Keane has claimed Smalling and Jones have gone backwards this season, but Hodgson defended the duo and insisted he will ignore critics during the World Cup.
"I am very rarely taken aback by things people say and rarely moved or disturbed by it," said Hodgson.
"I work on the simple basis that everyone has an opinion. If you are a TV pundit, you are required to give your opinion and I don't expect everyone's opinions to fall in with mine.
"If you ask me: 'Has it been a great year for Man United and have Phil Jones and Smalling starred?' Of course, they haven't because they have used so many players and their back line has changed every week. But, as far as I am concerned, they are England players because they have been England players through my two years. They fully justify their selections."
Jack Wilshere responded to criticism from Paul Scholes by ringing him to get tips on how to improve, having previously rowed with cricketer Kevin Pietersen on Twitter about his comments that only English people should play for England.
"I'm always pleased and impressed when players handle those moments in the right way," Hodgson said. "And if they don't, like when Jack had a row with Pietersen that was at the other end of the scale, I have to say I was really unmoved by that.
"TV companies have to get pundits in to talk. It's not going to decide if we have a good World Cup or not. If Jack answers criticism well or badly, it's what he does on the field that matters to me." (© Daily Telegraph, London)