Our man reveals England reaction to Ronaldo heroics as training steps up

Reuters

Marcus Rashford sat out England's first training session in Russian Federation due to a knee complaint as Gareth Southgate faced the first notable injury doubt of the World Cup build-up.

It seems thousands of people will watch them arrive.

The England boss said: "I think people can see there is a humility about the group, and there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be either by the way. If a World Cup cannot inspire a nation, then I'm not sure what can", said the English FA technical director Dan Ashworth. He also said he had no idea when the manager might tell the players the team. With the Three Lions keen to win the ball ahead of the half-way line, and using Sterling, Kane, Lingard and Dele Alli's ruthlessness on the counter may reduce the chance of being dragged into midfield battles with likely knockout opposition, Poland and Germany.

England's other group opponents are Panama and the world's third-ranked side Belgium.

Youthful duo John Stones and Harry Maguire are contenders to start even though the former is fourth choice at Manchester City and has barely played in 2018, while the latter has just three appearances.

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"We have a fantastic squad with great players so if I am selected to play and have to go back, there are players more than capable of doing the job I can do, if not better".

Lingard is a good example of the change that has occurred under Southgate; a player not considered by previous managers but someone who was known to Southgate in his previous roles with the junior national teams.

'You've got to enjoy your time on the field, no matter what game it is'.

"You have to play against the team in front of you and it is going to be a tough task but we are fully prepared for that". So we are all here with the same mentality, all wanting to win, all wanting to play.

Blackout blinds are in the players' rooms at their Forrestmix Club hotel base, 40km outside Saint Petersburg, but they have still not fully prevented bright daylight entering rooms in the early hours, causing some players to wake in the night. But a chat with the player saw a greatly improved performance against the Central Americans.

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