Pub's beer and food fail to attract England players
A PUB near the St George's Park football centre near Burton is still waiting for Wayne Rooney and co to pop in for a pint.
This week, the England team have been training at St George's Park ahead of tonight's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.
But Barry and Gail Wilkinson, who run the nearest pub to the centre, The New Inn, in Five Lane Ends, at Needwood, said their beer and home-cooked food had not been part of England's preparations. St George's Park was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October.
Mr Wilkinson said that, although over the past six months he had provided food, drink and accommodation to people visiting the football centre, none of them had been England footballers.
He said: "The England training set-up is a very controlled environment and I would say it's pretty unlikely that any of them would be allowed to pop out for a pint. It might have been a different story in the old days.
"That said, we have had people visiting the centre pop in to see us, including some minor league teams and coaches taking part in training courses. The England team tend to keep a low profile. We sometimes see an FA bus pass through. I didn't actually know they were at St George's Park training for the San Marino game."
Mr Wilkinson said that being so close to the football centre had been both a curse and a blessing.
He said: "We've picked up some trade from people who prefer our cheaper rates and home-cooked food – rather than staying at the more expensive hotels at St George's Park.
"But we rely on a lot of our accommodation bookings from the internet. We used to be on the first page of search engine results but since the football centre opened we have fallen down to about page 10."