England defender Conor Coady said on Thursday that temperatures at the World Cup in Qatar are certainly much hotter than those experienced back home, but it is time the players embraced the heat and put it out of their minds.
England held its first training session in the blazing heat and humidity at its Al Wakrah training base on Thursday with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, which forced Wales to postpone its session to the evening when it is cooler.
But Coady said there was no point in “over-thinking” about the heat as it would get them nowhere during the tournament.
“It was hard this morning. It was a long session and it was something we needed as a team to get used to it, to feel it, to understand it, and it’s tough” Coady told reporters ahead of England’s Group B opener against Iran on Monday.
“I’m not going to sit here and say it’s not tough, but we’re professional players. We understand what we’re doing, and training this morning was fantastic. It’s a different environment for us.
“It’s something we want to take on board as quickly as possible and something we want to enjoy. So we’re going out there to embrace it ... I enjoy playing in the sun, we don’t get it so often back home, do we?”
Apart from the heat in Qatar, the country’s treatment of foreign workers, restrictive social laws, and LGBTQ rights have also been criticised, leading many of the teams participating in the tournament to raise concerns.
Coady said he felt for LGBTQ fans who had decided to boycott the World Cup, saying England wanted every fan to come and drive them on, but he added that they respected the rules in Qatar.
Homosexuality is illegal in the conservative Muslim country, but World Cup organisers have repeatedly said that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome.
“From our own point of view, we really believe that football is for absolutely everybody. That’s what we believe as a team, as people, as players, and that’s what we want to focus on,” Coady said.
“We’ve come to a country where we respect rules and respect everything that goes on in this country. But we stand for what we stand for, and we’ll keep on moving forward with that.”
James Maddison was the only England player to miss training on Thursday, but Coady said the midfielder, who limped out of his club Leicester City’s final Premier League match before the World Cup on Nov. 12, was “all OK”.