England manager Roy Hodgson and his 23-man squad arrived at their Euro 2016 hotel in Chantilly, north of Paris, yesterday, having earlier landed at Le Bourget airport.
Amid great pomp and beneath hazy sunshine, the team bus was led down a cobbled street to the entrance of the luxury Auberge du Jeu de Paume hotel by five horsewomen. To a musical backdrop provided by a three-strong brass band dressed in red hunting uniforms, Hodgson was the first to alight outside the hotel, which is a stone’s throw from the picturesque Chateau de Chantilly and Chantilly Hippodrome.
The rest of the England contingent followed, led by captain Wayne Rooney. Clad in dark blue suits, they shook hands with Chantilly’s mayor, Eric Woerth, as well as the daughter of the Aga Khan, who owns the hotel. Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, hotly linked with a move to Arsenal, cast a brief glance towards the banks of photographers to his left as he entered the building.
Around 50 members of the press and a similar number of onlookers were present, as well as several French gendarmes and military policeman, some carrying guns.
Some hotel employees could also be seen peering down at the scene below from the building’s third-storey windows. Hodgson had earlier told the UEFA website: “It’s what we’ve been looking forward to for such a long time. We qualified quite early so we’ve had our minds on this moment for a long time and it’s just great to be here. “It will be a very good tournament with a lot of good teams taking part. We are relaxed and we think we are in decent form and just hoping we can show that on the field.”
England are due to stage a open training session at their nearby Stade des Bourgognes training base today, when local schoolchildren will be invited to attend. Hodgson’s men open their campaign against Russia in
Marseille on Saturday and will also face neighbours Wales and Slovakia in Group B.
England’s (from left) Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, Daniel Sturridge, Jack Wilshire and Raheem Sterling head to board the plane as the team departs for France for the Euro football championships at Luton Airport in Luton, north of London, yesterday. (AFP)