And so it begins.
Still over six months out from the Russia World Cup and you can already tell there may be problems ahead for England’s team next summer.
Gareth Southgate’s side will be based in Repino, a small town outside Saint Petersburg.
WIN A TRIP TO EL CLASICO Play Dream Team Weekender to win a trip of a lifetime and be in with a chance to bag £10k
But here’s the problem – there’s literally nothing there and absolutely zero to do outside the hotel.
SunSport’s Neil Ashton has travelled to England’s base camp for next summer, and says there “is simply nothing to do here, with the nearest smattering of shops a few kilometres down the empty, deserted, soulless roads.”
Repino is 45 minutes west of the famous Russian city of Saint Petersburg, near a small beach with the waves from the Gulf of Finland washing up.
Ashton continues: “When England’s players open the curtains at the forRestMix Club each morning and look out from their balcony at the pines and spruces, they will not be able to see the wood for the trees.
“This modest hotel, a summer retreat built with wedged-up Russians in mind, will soon cut them down to size.
“It is a nice area for a mountain-bike ride, or somewhere for the kids to run riot in the park overlooking the inappropriately-named ‘Golden Beach’ for an hour or so.
“But preparing for the mother of all football tournaments? Hmmm.”
Gareth Southgate’s squad will train 15 minutes down the road in Zelenogorsk, at a new stadium that is yet to be finished.
The training centre is apparently in a decent location, with work going on around the clock to make sure the playing surfaces are immaculate.
The good news for England’s players is that there is a hairdressing salon on site, with the stylist explaining that a cut and blow dry will only take “half an hour”.
Great news for the players, bad news for people like Garth Crooks who hates the idea of players having a fresh trim.
Of course, the World Cup is an intense tournament, and the players may enjoy having a remote spot for their downtime.
It will of course bring to mind the sleepy desert town of Rustenberg in the 2010 World Cup, where Fabio Capello’s side endured a painful few weeks.
But while the hotel itself will allow the players some freedom, on the outside of their camp a desolate ghost town awaits.