There were 30 better choices

My attention was elsewhere when England announced the squad for the upcoming friendlies against Spain and Sweden, but I was paying attention today when the FA announced the accommodations for Euro 2012. (And I got caught up on on the squad too.) They will be based in a five star, £177/night hotel in Poland’s mediaeval capitol. Which sounds nice, but it is the 31st best hotel in the city and the reviews are mixed. (From the pictures, it doesn’t look much nicer than the $50/night hotel in which I stayed last time I was on holiday, albeit with more amenities.) Ostensibly, this is to try to strike a balance between the decadence of Baden-Baden in ’06 and the remoteness of Rustenburg last summer, but it looks more like an attempt to pre-emptively punish the players for a poor tournament. The 31st best hotel in a city 150 miles away from the nearest match is not a vote of confidence, but they may only need to stay for eight days. Furthermore, they will be training on a ground that is the very picture of Eastern European disrepair. (The Guardian have a lovely gallery.) Krakow is, by all accounts, a lovely city, but the choices of hotel and ground therein are odd ones.

We’ll be a bit closer to knowing the team that will occupy the hotel after next week’s friendlies. Capello has chosen an experimental squad to face the reigning champions, with four uncapped players. Terry is still in the squad, though, despite the ongoing investigation into alleged racist remarks. Lampard is expected to captain the side, however. Andy Carroll is not in the side, unsurprisingly given his poor start to the season. It is a squad mostly of players hoping to force their way into the Euro 2012 squad with just a few old hands in the mix. I expect them to struggle against Spain. The full squad is here. I’d be interested to see if England play someone besides Hart in goal. There is no clear second choice keeper at the moment, and Robert Green showed us last year how bad things could be if Hart goes down with and injury before the tournament.

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