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Hodgson changes tactics over WAGs

England boss Roy Hodgson has changed his plans over an official trip for players' wives, families and girlfriends to the World Cup warm-up camp in Miami at the start of June.

It had been planned that time would be set aside for the 'WAGs' - wives and girlfriends - after the first friendly against Ecuador on June 4.

However, it has now emerged the players will instead fly to Miami on Sunday June 1, a day later than originally planned, and that time will be given over to their families.

The Football Association's original plan had been to organise a visit for the families to Florida, but it is understood that will now not take place.

The timetable will now see England play Peru at Wembley on May 30, have the following day with their families and then join up again with the squad on June 1 to fly to Miami.

Hodgson, however, will not ban players from making their own arrangements for their families or partners to travel to Miami or after that to Brazil, but any time spent together then will have to fit in with training and match schedules, and any other England duties.

The whole issue of the WAGs has been controversial since the 2006 World Cup, when there was criticism that the high-profile antics of players' loved ones at the Baden Baden base was a distraction for the team.

Former England manager Fabio Capello went in the opposite direction for the 2010 tournament in South Africa and restricted the time that players could spend with their families to short windows of opportunity.

There will be two friendlies in Florida, the second against Honduras on June 7, before England fly to their World Cup base in Rio de Janeiro ahead of their first match of the tournament against Italy in Manaus on June 14.

Wayne Rooney's wife Coleen is among the most prominent of the England team's WAGs.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart's girlfriend Kimberly Crew, defender Phil Jones's partner Kaya Hall and midfielder Frank Lampard's television presenter fiancee Christine Bleakley could all take advantage of being allowed to spend time with their partners ahead of the World Cup.

Defender Glen Johnson's wife, Laura, was among the WAGs who made an appearance in Poland during Euro 2012.

But captain Steven Gerrard's model wife, Alex, and their three daughters, will not be making the trip across the Atlantic.

He did not invite his family to South Africa for the last World Cup in 2010, and revealed last month that he has made the same decision for Brazil.

The midfielder said he will sacrifice spending time with his family so he can concentrate on football, and plans to stay in touch by telephone and on the internet.


From Belfast Telegraph