England boss Gareth Southgate raring to go

Ruben Hill
July 9, 2018

England forward Marcus Rashford has suffered a "slight knock" in the final training session before heading to the World Cup in Russian Federation, manager Gareth Southgate said.

"Marcus took a slight knock, but nothing too serious, so we will have a look at that ahead of tomorrow's session which is open for everybody to see, but other than that, everybody came through fine", Southgate said in an interview with BBC Sport at St Petersburg airport.

Assuming they survive a favourable group draw that has pitted them against Belgium, Tunisia and Panama, they face a likely knock-out game against Poland or Colombia followed by a possible quarterfinal against Brazil, which would be a repeat of 2002 when England narrowly lost. The victory will also help calm down an ever-sceptical English press.

Rashford shone in the latter and scored a superb opener in a man-of-the-match display, underlining his claims for a starting berth in Monday's Group G opener against Tunisia.

"It's hard to look beyond the World Cup".

Until now? Gareth Southgate's squad arrive in Russian Federation as collectively the youngest in the tournament, an exciting array of talent but actually on the face of it, for the first time in my lifetime watching the national team, not that much expectation.

Fast forward to 2018 and it is the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi who will hope to steal the show and embed their names into World Cup history, whilst England's Harry Kane will hope to lead by example for his country after a poor Euro 2016 campaign.

Rio Ferdinand has backed Gareth Southgate to remain in England coach even if the Three Lions have a disastrous World Cup outing.

However, Young believes Southgate has used his personal experience of representing his country at World Cup's to instil a sense of togetherness in this group of Three Lions stars.

"Thanks for the messages I've been getting", Rashford posted on Twitter.

"We are obviously excited to be here now".

"I think we've still got five days before the first game so it's just a little bit of a precaution for him to make sure he is OK".

Then again for the rest of us, Harry winning it will clearly equate to us having a great tournament. "But don't worry, we are going to get there.'" Indeed, Ferdinand even believes that defeat in Russian Federation could be to the long-term benefit of the England players.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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