A ring of steel will surround Gareth Southgate’s England team when they arrive in Russia on Tuesday to compete at the 2018 World Cup.
Security at England’s training ground at the small community Spartak stadium — usually home to youth and local football tournaments — was being upgraded on Sunday.
A six foot-fence surrounding the stadium was being increased to 13 feet high — reportedly at the request of the English FA.
England’s training ground in Russia will have a 13ft steel fence surrounding it for the World Cup
Work was continuing into late afternoon on Sunday to ensure the newly adopted ‘England stadium’ would be kept safe and shuttered from the prying eyes of the media.
The England team will be based in Repino — a small hamlet 19 miles north-west of St Petersburg — with a population of only 2,500.
Manager Southgate is also understood to want to stop opposition coaches learning his team tactics in the build-up to a tournament which kicks off on Thursday when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia.
The stadium has had thousands of pounds spent on upgrades in recent months. And it is understood the FA has contributed heavily to ensure the England team have a decent surface on which to prepare.
The England team will be based in Repino at The ForRestMix Club Hotel for the World Cup
A property developer who has a summer home on the edge of the training ground said on Sunday: ‘It was used for a football school before. My 12-year-old son played on it, but that was before the reconstruction.
‘The fence is higher than the standard required by FIFA and I have been joking with the kids about the teams laying the turf for the England team.
‘They have been doing the work on the security fence for about six months but now the height is being doubled to more than four metres. No one will be able to see England prepare.’
A newspaper reporter and photographer were immediately captured on a swivelling CCTV camera as they approached the gates on Sunday.
Within three minutes a Russian police car arrived at the padlocked gates and asked to see media accreditation and passports as well as visas.
Gareth Southgate is understood to want to stop opposition coaches learning his team tactics
One officer advised that the area would be ‘totally secured’ during England’s stay with the likelihood of road closures preventing unauthorised stadium visits.
Reporters who tried to observe the stadium from a nearby block of flats were questioned by Russian police for more than 20 minutes before being told to depart.
The Russian authorities are desperate for their 2018 tournament to be a success and on Sunday security surrounding the England team was paramount just 48 hours before their plane touches down at St Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport.
Reporters arriving in Repino were denied entry to the team’s 117-room hotel where a security guard said the facility was ‘completely closed for the immediate future’.
England captain Harry Kane and his team are due to tackle their first training session on Russian soil on Wednesday.