England squad head to Russian Federation as World Cup campaign gets underway

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England squad head to Russian Federation as World Cup campaign gets underway

England's 20 year-old striker will miss their first training session upon their arival in Russian Federation following what Gareth Southgate termed as a "slight knock".

Following a home-based camp that could hardly have gone better, the so far injury-free Three Lions will head east for the final phase of training and fine-tuning. The 47-year-old former Aston Villa centre-back took over from Sam Allardyce in 2016 after the ex-Everton boss was sacked following just one match in charge, and despite initial scepticism over his qualities has led the squad to World Cup 2018.

Before their departure from Birmingham Airport, the full squad posed for a team photo decked out in suits at St Georges Park.

"We hope we can send people to work the following day having enjoyed our matches, I know what those tournament experiences can be like and we desperately want to bring that", said Southgate, whose side have warmed up with wins over fellow finalists Nigeria and Costa Rica.

"We can't wait to get out there and get started".

Southgate was speaking as he waved off Martin Atkinson from St George's Park ahead of the Premier League referee's charity bike ride to Russian Federation.

The Premier League official aims to raise £60,000 for a variety of charities and be at England's final group game against Belgium in Kaliningrad on June 28.

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 23 squad members were joined by stand-by midfielder Jake Livermore in a game held on the Sir Bobby Charlton Pitch, where referee Anthony Taylor oversaw proceedings.

And Tottenham striker Kane, who is likely to be England's designated penalty taker, says the current squad have been practising, whilst also urging his team-mates not to focus on past failures. In the end, we want to entertain where we possibly can.

"That is important for us, important for the way we work".

"But a couple of them went flying into tackles and you're thinking "bloody hell", and you're just jumping out the way of things".

Asked to sum up his own feelings about coaching his country on the biggest stage of all, he added: "I'm a very proud Englishman and I've said before that to play for my country was my only goal as a kid". Actually at that point I'm not convinced they do.

"I've got a family that are going out there".

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