The England squad have joined up at St George’s Park ahead of the Russia World Cup. The team were told to report this morning, before a team meeting and a light training session this afternoon.
With their first World Cup match starting on June 18th against Tunisia, the squad will have almost a month together to prepare, and roughly two weeks before their first friendly against Nigeria. Manager Gareth Southgate has never had this amount of time to prepare his senior team before.
There are some notable absences though, with five Chelsea and Manchester United players being given a week off after their FA Cup final exploits, and Liverpool player’s Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold preparing for the Champions League final on Saturday,
Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski and Jake Livermore from the standby squad are also attending the training camp to up the numbers, as is Lewis Cook, but he has been selected for the U21s tournament in Toulon this summer so is unlikely to travel to Russia even if injuries affect the senior squad.
England play Nigeria on June 2nd and Costa Rice on June 7th in pre-tournament friendlies, with their World Cup campaign kicking off against Tunisia on June 18th, followed by Panama on June 24th and finally Belgium on June 28th.
Southgate will want to make sure that England have secured qualification for the second round of the tournament before playing Belgium in what is undoubtably the toughest game of the group. The England boss will also want to make sure that his team are focussed ahead of the two other group games, ad over-confidence could cause an issue.