England national team: Marcus Rashford nursing ill-timed knock, Gareth Southgate confirms

England national team: Marcus Rashford nursing ill-timed knock, Gareth Southgate confirms

England national team: Marcus Rashford nursing ill-timed knock, Gareth Southgate confirms

England have won only six matches in the knockout stages of major worldwide tournaments since their World Cup triumph in 1966, the last victory of that kind being 12 years ago against Ecuador.

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

Kane, who says his mum cried when he was handed the captaincy by Southgate, does not expect a repeat of the woeful Euro 2016 campaign which saw them beaten by minnows Iceland in the last 16 and cost then manager Roy Hodgson his job.

Three days out from Monday's Group G clash in Volgograd, the Manchester United man will train for the first time in Russian Federation after a knee problem. For the country which invented the game and which is without an worldwide title in 52 years, the expectation is usually almost intolerable.

In plumping for an inexperienced squad whose average age is 26, Southgate has made a powerful statement of intent and observers have been impressed by the open approach he has encouraged the squad to what lies ahead. "The most important is the way you play, and your performances and your results", Southgate said.

The Saudis qualified from a pretty ordinary looking qualifying group, although it has to be said that the fact they finished above Australia suggests they can be capable of causing an upset on their day.

The England jersey has weighed heavily in recent years, with media criticism often strong and squad harmony affected by rivalries from the club scene in the domestic Premier League.

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.

The Football Association also earlier indicated Rashford's absence was only a precautionary measure, but the Manchester United forward was conspicuous by his absence from the first session at Spartak Zelenogorsk's stadium. Out went many established players - captain Wayne Rooney among them - to be gradually replaced by a younger generation without any baggage.

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And will Spurs fans secretly be hoping Harry Kane doesn't win the Golden Boot as you do wonder if Daniel Levy will be able to resist if the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona or PSG coming knocking at White Hart Lane with their respective cheque books in August?

"I've talked before about there being a disconnect between the supporters and the team", Southgate said. We recognise that and part of it was maybe not knowing how much they care or their backgrounds.

The English public seems to have warmed to it.

England's Rashford skips over Costa Rica's defender Cristian Gamboa during their worldwide friendly football in Leeds, England last Thursday.

But here, seemingly, was confirmation that Jordan Henderson will get the nod ahead of Eric Dier in that midfield anchor role and, perhaps more intriguingly, Ashley Young will start ahead of Danny Rose out wide on the left.

However, if Southgate's plans to steadily progress at this World Cup do not materialise, Ferdinand says he should still keep his position as England head coach. Welcoming England's players onto the field at training, local administrators said it was a "privilege that England, the motherland of football, chooses to use our training ground".

After wins over Nigeria and Costa Rica in the warm-up games, Gareth Southgate urged his players to entertain the nation this summer.

Marcus Rashford has described his injury as a "slight niggle" and insists the problem is nothing to be concerned about.

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