ST PETERSBURG: England had a late World Cup injury scare when Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford arrived in Russia with a knee injury suffered in training on Tuesday at St George’s Park.
Manager Gareth Southgate described the injury as a “slight knock” but it was serious enough for the 20-year-old striker to need special assessment over whether he could take place in regular training at England’s camp on Repino, north of St Petersburg.
The setback was badly timed for Rashford who had staked his claim to start the opening group G game against Tunisia – in place of Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling – wth a lively performance topped off with a fine goal in a 2:0 win over Costa Rica last Thursday.
Otherwise England have an injury-free squad.
Even if Southgate prefers to stick with his original plan of using Sterling off the left wing, Rashford is primed to play an important role over the coming weeks.
One player certain to start is Kyle Walker even though the City defender has insisted he would rather be used at right back than as one of three centre halves, which is where Southgate is set to pick him.
Walker said: “I want to play right back. I’ve worked my whole life to get to where I am now in a World Cup, and to showcase my talent on the World Cup stage, playing in my position.”
England’s playing and support staff at the Forrestmix Club in Repino haeb all been given in-depth advice over cyberattacks and other security issues, which extend to where to hide personal items in their hotel rooms.
Players taking multiple devices, such as iPads, have had them screened by staff from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre and extra software has been added that will only be deleted when they return home from Russia.