Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Knee complaint sidelines Rashford for England's first training session in Russia

Knee complaint sidelines Rashford for England's first training session in Russia

Marcus Rashford will train with England on Friday as manager Gareth Southgate fine-tunes his preparations for the World Cup opener with Tunisia.

After Tunisia, England face Panama in Group G before a potentially-deciding game in terms of group winners against Belgium.

Southgate, who was an accomplished defender, is one of the few England players of recent vintage to have known relative success at an global tournament, having been in the side that reached the semifinals of Euro 96.

"I'm confident it won't happen (again) - I won't say 100 percent because you never know in football - but in this team, we wear our heart on our sleeve".

"We fly out tomorrow, so it'll be good to get on with it now".

Or maybe that came when the English endured their shortest World Cup campaign two years earlier whey they were only in contention for eight days.

Southgate hopes the atmosphere of the Country Club ForRest Mix in Repino, on the Gulf of Finland and less than an hour away from St Petersburg, can help continue the squad's positive mindset which has grown during the course of the warm-up matches.

Gareth Southgate's 23-man England squad are heading to the World Cup this afternoon, so to get in the spirit of things, fans are tracking their flight to Russian Federation via an online tracker.

And before that, who could forget Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal that denied England in the World Cup semifinals in 1986?

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"We are obviously excited to be here now".

The 31-year-old is likely to start the competition as back-up for captain Harry Kane but knows from experience things can change fast.

"Our journey might get just as hard as theirs as we go along", said Southgate.

England's 23-man squad includes 11 black, Asian and ethnic minority players - the highest number they have taken to any major competition. However, the young striker may yet be forced to miss the Three Lions' opening game against the Eagles of Carthage.

But Young will have his family present at the games and backed the Football Association's security measures to keep everyone safe.

He tweeted: "Thanks for the messages I've been getting".

"It's going to be a gruelling adventure but we're very proud of what they are all doing".

The sticker book has been a work in progress for a couple of months, my wife has already threatened divorce if one more wallchart is put up in the garage and my eyes will go square if I read one more preview ahead of the greatest show on earth.

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