Euro 2012: England ready for Donetsk heat - Roy Hodgson

By Phil McNultyChief football writer in Donetsk

England boss Roy Hodgson is confident his players will be well prepared for the heat that could greet them during their opening Euro 2012 game against France in Donetsk on Monday.

The squad made the two-hour flight from their Polish base in Krakow and trained in the Donbass Arena on Sunday evening.

Donetsk is forecast to hit a high of 34C on matchday.

"It will be the same for both teams and it's very important that we don't put too much emphasis on it," Hodgson said.

"It does get hot in England from time to time and the heat is a factor for all the teams that will play here in the Ukraine. In the earlier game it plays a slightly bigger role."

Temperatures are expected to dip by the start of the match at 7pm local time, but England will not be matching their French counterparts when it comes to extra measures to cope with the heat.

France coach Laurent Blanc has revealed that his side will don Cyro Jackets, containing eight pockets which can be filled with ice to cool the body down, at half time.

Last week several members of the French squad also used a cryotherapy chamber in an attempt to improve their chances of selection, but Hodgson says his players are set to cope with the conditions.

"We'll deal with the heat as best we can."

Captain Steven Gerrard echoed his manager's thoughts. "Yeah, it's hot but it's hot for both teams. We won't use the heat and the conditions as an excuse."

Having based themselves in the relatively cool southern Polish city of Krakow, England arrived in Donetsk to be greeted by sweltering conditions. But Hodgson added: "I have good staff that will be doing everything to rehydrate the players.

"Of course temperatures are always a concern but it is a concern in every major tournament. I would be very surprised if it gets anything like it was in the World Cup in America with Switzerland in 1994.

"For our first game in the Silverdome (in Michigan) it was 34-35 degrees outside. Inside, where the humidity was 91%, the temperatures were supposed to be 41 degrees.

"Then we went to Stanford and played around lunchtime with the sun high above us. The temperature was registering 38C and the sun was beating down. I would be very surprised if it was as hot as that."

If England do suffer in the heat, it is bound to reopen the debate about the wisdom of the FA's decision to base themselves in the relatively cool southern Polish city of Krakow. However Hodgson said he had no regrets about the decision to stay in Poland.

He said: "It's not something I've given great attention to. The trip has been very well planned.

"I can't believe the quality of our preparations. Everything has been absolutely spot on. It's been no hardship to take a short plane journey over here. I'm perfectly happy with the arrangements."

Hodgson meanwhile challenged his players to reproduce their club form for the national team.

"I just hope we are capable of playing the way they can do," Hodgson said.

"We see them do week in and week out in the Barclays Premier League playing to the best of their ability.

"My hope is they show that form individually and as a team tomorrow and in the couple of matches after that.

"We know it is a stern challenge. France are unbeaten in 21 games and that is some achievement. We have full respect for the French but our players also have confidence in their own ability."

Hodgson admitted he was surprised how quickly he has settled in with England only a month after ending his spell as West Brom boss.

"It has been an exciting month. But I have been quickly accepted by the group and feel comfortable in my position. Maybe that is a bit unusual because you normally need more time but the players have made it easy for me to get my feet under the table."

Hodgson has a full 23-man squad to choose from with midfielder James Milner (heel) and defender Martin Kelly (illness) declared fit.