Boro legend Gareth Southgate has praised the club and the facilities at Rockliffe Park as his England side settle in ahead of two friendly matches this week.

The Three Lions arrived in the north east over the weekend to begin preparations for the matches against Austria and Romania at the Riverside, and the EURO 2020 tournament that follows. 

“I have to say, the last few days have been excellent,” Southgate said.

“To come here, it’s been a really relaxed environment. We work hard but we want a relaxed atmosphere.

“Middlesbrough have been fantastic looking after us.

“Now we have the two friendlies to look forward to.”

The England manager named his final 26-man squad on Tuesday afternoon, and says all those in the camp have had a good experience at Boro’s training headquarters. 

“I think the players have enjoyed it,” he said.

“In the time I was manager here we had the training facility but they were still building the hotel.

“To be able to walk across from there to training and minimise the travel in these COVID times - that’s been important, and with the weather as it’s been we’ve been able to eat outside. 

“As we get closer to the games the intensity of the noise around us will increase. 

“But anyone who’s been with the team the past four or five days knows what a good atmosphere there’s been, and everyone’s been focused on their training and enjoying the environment.”

Southgate is looking forward to seeing his team in action in front of supporters at the Riverside tomorrow.

“We’ve had a year without playing in front of fans,” he said.

“So we’re really looking forward to that. It’s such a missing piece.”
 

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