England captain Kane in rallying call to arms
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Tottenham striker Harry Kane leads a youthful England squad into the World Cup as captain and feels everyone is ready to meet the challenges head on.
The squad arrived in Russia this week ahead of their first match against Tunisia on Monday and Kane said: “The World Cup is the biggest tournament in football. This is what it is all about, is what you work hard for as a kid and spend all of those hours training.
“This is the stage you want to be on, the biggest stage in the world.”
Manager Gareth Southgate, though, has no intentions of letting anyone in and around the camp getting ahead of themselves.
He 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. That is important for us, important for the way we work. We have got to keep wanting to improve.
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“We are representing our country in the greatest sporting tournament there is.”
Southgate will hope England’s luck on injuries holds out, with Marcus Rashford carrying a “slight knock”.
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England landed in St Petersburg on Tuesday before heading off to their secluded training base in Repino and had their first training session on Wednesday morning.
Rashford is reportedly suffering a minor knee complaint, picked up in a final training session before departure, and Southgate added: “Marcus took a slight knock, but nothing too serious, so we will have a look at that. Other than that, everybody came through fine.
“Across three weeks, we have been really pleased to get the 23 we picked through all of the sessions.”
The England boss added he would “probably know” his starting XI for the game against Tunisia in Volgograd “if it was tomorrow”, but insisted there was still plenty of time for players to stake their claim.
He hopes the atmosphere of the Country Club ForRest Mix in Repino, on the Gulf of Finland and less than an hour away from St Petersburg, can help continue the squad’s positive mindset which has grown during the course of the warm-up matches.
“We like the town and we like St Petersburg,” Southgate told BBC Sport. “We are hopeful players and family will get an opportunity to go into St Petersburg when we are not working. We like the fact we have taken the hotel just for ourselves.”