Sunday 22 July 2018

Gareth Southgate: England are ready for World Cup opener

Southgate’s team have been told the starting line-up for their Group G clash with Tunisia.

England manager Gareth Southgate has been pleased with his side’s World Cup preparations (Owen Humphreys/PA)
England manager Gareth Southgate has been pleased with his side’s World Cup preparations (Owen Humphreys/PA)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Gareth Southgate feels his England players are ready for action after a positive build-up to their World Cup opener.

Southgate’s squad trained for the final time at their Repino base on Sunday morning before travelling to Volgograd to complete preparations for Monday’s Group G clash with Tunisia.

England have no injury issues going into the game with forward Marcus Rashford having overcome a minor knee problem which prevented him training earlier in the week.

“They’re ready,” Southgate said on the England team’s YouTube channel. “If they played today they’d be ready.

“We’ve got to make sure they don’t do too much physically, don’t overload them with information. They’re clear on how we want to play, they’re clear on the opposition.”

England seemed in relaxed mood on the training field, with the players stopping for a moment to applaud midfielder Jordan Henderson on his 28th birthday.

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England’ seemed in relaxed mood at training on Sunday (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Southgate has already told the group what Monday’s starting line-up will be.

“I think that’s helpful that everything’s settled,” he said. “They know their jobs.

“The guys who aren’t in the team are prepared and have trained well. They become a key part of what we do now.

“They have to support the players who are starting but also be ready because anything can happen before the game, anything can happen during the game.

“We only progress as a collective. That’s been the mentality from the day we started and will go right through the tournament.”

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Colombian Wilmar Roldan will referee England’s opener (Adam Davy/Empics)

Tournament organisers FIFA have appointed Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan to the Tunisia fixture.

Roldan was at the centre of a VAR controversy last summer when he initially sent off the wrong player during a Confederations Cup match.

It occurred after Roldan mistakenly booked Cameroon’s Sebastien Siani for a high challenge on Germany’s Emre Can which had been committed by team-mate Ernest Mabouka. He upgraded the yellow card to red after reviewing the incident – but failed to spot he had got the wrong player.

It was only after a further review, following protests, the mistake was corrected.

Press Association

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