Whelan’s balanced approach

Ireland’s players will hardly want for distractions at their scenic and popular Sopot base in Poland next month but Glenn Whelan is happy the squad will be able to find a happy medium between work, rest and play on the Baltic coast.

Sopot was described by this newspaper’s soccer correspondent Liam Mackey as the ‘Polish Cannes of the 1920s’ on a recent recce trip to take in the team’s various facilities and their five-star hotel sits near the main drag and adjacent to the beach.

It is a far cry from Rustenburg where England stewed throughout the 2010 World Cup or, indeed, the glum industrial estate outside Bordeaux that housed an unhappy Irish rugby camp during the 2007 global tournament.

“It depends how controlled it is, seeing how many Irish fans are about,” said Whelan of the tourist spot.

“If there’s any other team about, then they won’t be bothered with us. There has to be a little bit of leeway because when we train with our clubs back in England, we don’t come home and go straight to our beds. We get out and about.

“People have got kids and hobbies and things like that. I’m sure the staff will look into that. I can’t see it being a problem. If we’re in the centre of a decent spot and it’s quite busy, I’m sure the reins will have to be held in a little bit, with a little bit of leeway.”


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