In the build-up to England's World Cup opener against Italy, Everton skipper Phil Jagielka took time out to talk about his experiences in the camp so far, life in Brazil and getting that balcony snap with Ross Barkley…
How's the training camp been so far?
It's really good here in Rio. We obviously had a sneak preview last year for the friendly [against Brazil] and it's had a few tweaks here and there. We have a little marquee for all the physio activity and pre-hab, the pitches are really good and obviously the view's not bad either. Hotel-wise, it's perfect. It's got a golf course nearby too, so obviously that's a thumbs up from me!
Who are you rooming with?
We don't room, so that's an easy one.
Have you seen the photo doing the rounds of Bainesy taking a snap of you and Ross on the balcony?
Of course! Obviously we didn't know the cameras were there. Ross has come into my room to see what view I've got, Bainesy is just out there. Quite a few of us were taking pictures of the view we had - you can see from everyone's Instagram the lovely view we've got. I was just trying to pull a stupid picture behind Ross and get Bainesy to catch it, and as you can see the photographers got a picture. We've had a laugh and a joke about it since.
How's Ross settling in?
He settled in ages ago to be honest. He's been around the squad for a while now. He's got quite a few lads who are his age and who he's played with at different age groups, so he's as settled as I've seen him.
What did you make of his performances in the friendlies?
He's doing well. Everyone keeps talking up his chances in the World Cup, and it could be hard for him to deal with that expectation. But I think he's doing really well. It would be nice for him to sneak a goal or an assist. He nearly had another one in the game last week. It would be nice for him to pop up with a goal, but hopefully he's saving that for the World Cup.
Does it help having three from Everton at the tournament?
Yeah, I think so. I don't think any of us are that new to the squad. Bainesy and I have been around a while obviously. But if we don't speak to each other we've got plenty of other people we know well and can sit next to and talk to. For Ross, he's got a lot of lads his age. We also had John Stones and Jon Flanagan for the first three weeks of preparation and he's pretty good mates with them too. Ross is always keen to get beat on the table tennis table, so there's plenty lining up to do that!
Have you met any Everton fans?
Yeah, I've seen quite a few. I went to a question and answer session in Rio the other day and I saw a guy in an old Everton shirt. We seem to get everywhere and it was nice to see a friendly face!
Has the magnitude of the World Cup hit home now you're there?
It does, but I think it will seem more so during the first game and after. We haven't kicked off yet, but once we do it will really hit home.
Anything taken you by surprise?
No, we knew it would be hot and we've prepared for that. We have prepared really well and the facilities we have over here have been second to none. The rooms have been good, the social areas are great, it's been great to drive down the Copacabana everyday to training and take in the scenery. But we just want to get the serious stuff started now and the World Cup to begin.