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Euro Diary: Sam Vokes

13 June 2016

We started off at a base in Portugal in Vale Do Lobo which was like a mini pre-season I suppose for some of the boys as a lot of the group had had two weeks off.

It was a good tough week because obviously it’s really hot out there and training was intense. Then we had a week back in Wales before we came out here.

We had the final warm-up game against Sweden before we flew out to France in Stockholm which wasn’t a great result!

When we arrived in France we got a great reception from the locals and the Mayor met us off the plane.

On the Tuesday we started training and the lads ventured out into Dinard to have a look around the place and grab a coffee which was good to get used to the surroundings as it’s a really nice place.

I’m rooming with Andy King from Leicester and I’ve always been with him. It’s a bit of a longer trip so we have separate rooms that have linking doors.

In our down time there has been quite a bit of FIFA going on but that’s not really for me if I’m honest, I’m more of a cards man but that’s not actually going so well for me so on this trip.

Wednesday was then the main media day in build up to playing Slovakia on the Saturday. There was about 500 fans that came to watch us train which includes local kids and local fans.

They’ve really taken to us I think as when you drive down through the town on the way to training, because our camp is right on the coast, you see French families waving Welsh flags and it has been really
welcoming.

There is a great feel inside the camp too and we’ve got a lot of big characters but to be fair the core of this squad has been together for years now so it’s brilliant to be a part of.

A lot of people mention cabin fever on these sort of trips but nobody is getting that and after training we’re all just chilling with each other, watching the other games and playing a bit of table tennis.

On Thursday we did a bit more teamwork in the build-up to the game and then the Friday we travelled down to Bordeaux and trained at the match stadium in the evening which is quite normal in internationals.

It was a great feeling to be involved in the squad against Slovakia. Naturally I wanted to get on but the fans were absolutely amazing and even the build up to it the night before in the hotel was something I’ve not seen since I’ve been involved with Wales.

There was a sea of red inside the stadium and I think that probably kicked us on in the end to get the win. The boys were brilliant and it was good to get off to a winning start.

We’re looking forward to the England game now which I’m sure is getting a lot of build-up back home.

I’ve dropped Tom Heaton a few texts so we’ve been having a bit of banter back and forth ahead of it!

It’ll be good to see him though on Thursday and I think he’s enjoying it as well. It’s good to have some of the other lads over here with Wardy playing too.

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