Thursday 18 October 2018

Marcus Rashford still absent as England tune up for Tunisia

The Manchester United forward is carrying a minor knee problem.

England’s Marcus Rashford prepares to board the plane at Birmingham Airport, ahead of flying out to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
England’s Marcus Rashford prepares to board the plane at Birmingham Airport, ahead of flying out to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer, Repino

Marcus Rashford was again conspicuous by his absence as England trained ahead of their World Cup opener against Tunisia.

Gareth Southgate’s squad continued preparations for Monday’s Group G clash in Volgograd at the Spartak Zelenogorsk Stadium, where the session was a man light for the second successive day.

Rashford missed training on Wednesday with a knee issue that again kept him out on Thursday, when he stayed at the team’s forRestMix Club hotel in Repino to do separate work.

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England stars Fabian Delph, Harry Maguire, Ashley Young, John Stones, Jamie Vardy and Kyle Walker at training on Thursday (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Southgate called it a “slight knock” upon landing in Russia and Rashford attempted to allay concerns about his fitness on Twitter.

“Thanks for the messages I’ve been getting,” he posted on Wednesday evening. “Picked up a slight niggle but nothing to worry about #ThreeLions”

While the knee issue does not seem too serious, it may well extinguish Rashford’s hopes of being in the line-up to face Tunisia on Monday.

The 20-year-old had bolstered his chances of starting the Group G opener with a man-of-the-match display in last week’s 2-0 friendly send-off win against Costa Rica.

Rashford’s knee issue meant he was the only squad member absent from training on Thursday morning, when England players and staff observed a minute’s silence to mark the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Southgate’s team showed their respect for those who lost their lives in last summer’s tragedy in London before training, where a number of staff wore Grenfell green heart badges.

Media had access to the first 15 minutes of training and saw the players warm up for the main part of the session.

England were set to host their first press conference since arriving in Russia at the Repino Cronwell Park hotel, with Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier set to face the media on Thursday afternoon.

Press Association

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