Manaus cauldron holds no fear, insists Milner

ENGLAND’S preparations for dealing with the heat and humidity of Manaus have been so meticulous that the players are more concerned about coming home to inevitable wind and rain, according to midfielder James Milner.

Roy Hodgson’s team take on Italy tomorrow in the Amazonian city, where temperatures of 33 degrees celsius are forecast and humidity levels yesterday reached 70 per cent.

Italy’s participation in last summer’s Confederations Cup in Brazil gave them an insight into the conditions they could expect to come up against.

But England have ensured they will suffer no disadvantage, drafting in sports scientists who asked players to train in heat chambers at St George’s Park and wear three layers of kit during drills. Players also attended warm-weather training camps in Portugal and Miami, and Milner admits the Arena Amazonia is starting to feel like a home from home.

“The heat is getting pretty normal,” he said. “We are getting to the stage where we are more worried about the cold when we go back to England than playing the first game in Manaus. From our preparation, we can’t do anything more than we have done.”

Forward Danny Welbeck is expected to resume training today having suffered a thigh problem earlier this week, leaving midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the only absentee for the Group D opening match with strained knee ligaments.

Manager Roy Hodgson is hopeful Oxlade-Chamberlain will be available for selection against Uruguay on Thursday, and Milner revealed the Arsenal star is well on his way to a full recuperation.

“It’s great to see Ox about running,” said the versatile Manchester City star, who faces competition for a place from Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling.

“He obviously feared not long ago it might be the end of his tournament. He saw one of the physios off because he couldn’t keep up with him, so another physio had to come in and run the second part of the running with him. So he is running at good speed and coming along well.”