Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2016: Northern Ireland squad hold first training session in France

Norwood and Baird appear at Northern Ireland's first press conference in France

By Adrian Rutherford

Northern Ireland’s footballers are holding their first training session since arriving in France for Euro 2016.

The squad stepped up preparations at their base at Parc Montchervet in Saint-Georges-de-Reneins.

The small town is located around 40 minutes north of Lyon.

Several players completed a light workout on the pitch. Others took part in a cycling session.

The team will be based here for the duration of the tournament.

The squad flew into Lyon yesterday afternoon from Slovakia, where they drew 0-0 in their final warm-up game on Saturday night.

Northern Ireland’s opening game is against Poland on Sunday.

Speaking after arriving in France yesterday, manager Michael O’Neill admitted anticipation was building for everyone.

“There is a sense of excitement for all of us. This is a new experience for myself and for all of the players,” he said.

O’Neill added: “We’re going to bring thousands of supporters out here, we’re delighted to be here.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to be out here, but having achieved that we want to leave our mark on the tournament.

“The main thing is that it’s a positive experience and an enjoyable experience for everyone, and we’ll only do that if we continue playing the way we have done recently.

“We’ve come here in a good state - 12 games unbeaten - and we want to make sure we try and extend that once the tournament starts.”

NORWOOD 'cannot wait for kick-off'

Northern Ireland star Oliver Norwood says he cannot wait for Euro 2016 to kick off.

Appearing at a press conference on Monday afternoon, Norwood said they were looking forward to the tournament finally getting under way.

“We’ve been in camp three weeks now - we’ve been in Manchester, in Dublin, Austria and Slovakia,” he said.

“So now to finally get here and get settled last night, it’s exciting times and it’s a tournament we’re really looking forward to.”

Defender Chris Baird says the Euros will be the highlight of his career.

“Now that we’re here it has all sunk in - it all builds up now to the first game and it has been fantastic,” he said.

“There have been a lot of tough years, I’ve been playing a long time now for the national team.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it but this just sums it all up.

“Coming here, the whole experience, knowing you’ve qualified for a major tournament, and to say that you have finally played in one.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital