By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The England World Cup squad yesterday paid a visit to the Rocinha favela community in Rio de Janeiro as they begin their preparations in earnest. The players touched down at Galeão (GIG) International airport early on Sunday morning following a training period in Miami, Florida.
After spending Sunday relaxing and taking some down time on São Conrado beach, the squad have made attempts to engage with the community around where they will be based during the World Cup. England are staying at the Royal Tulip hotel in São Conrado, at the foot of Rocinha, often considered the largest favela in Brazil.
The players visited the sports complex in Rocinha, taking the opportunity to chat to the local children. Prior to a friendly against Brazil at the Maracanã in June 2013, the Three Lions made a similar trip to the Vila Cruzeiro favela in the Complexo do Alemão.
The sports complex offers children the opportunity to partake in a diverse range of sports including judo, volleyball, tennis, swimming and skateboarding. The England squad are set to make a donation to the Complexo Esportivo do Rocinha to help develop facilities even further.
Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere said. “The entire squad is keen to gain an appreciation of our surroundings and experience the culture of Brazil during our time here. The visit to the Rocinha Sports Complex provided an incredible insight into the unique and powerful role sport plays in this country.”
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