Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Gareth Southgate says England are well-prepared to face Tunisia

Gareth Southgate says England are well-prepared to face Tunisia

Anticipation of England's World Cup kick-off was building in the city of Volgograd on Monday. The squad, one of the youngest in Russian Federation, is versatile, meaning Southgate can adjust the way his team plays.

"They appear more relaxed".

England will go into their opening game of the World Cup against Tunisia on Monday free of the psychological burden that has built up after a string of limp tournament exits, manager Gareth Southgate said on Sunday. At the end of the day the gaffer wants to make it as good as possible. That's been the problem in the past. "And you can see from the changes we've made this season, we're getting better".

That disconnect with the public has been bridged by the 23-man squad facing the media in a 45-minute, Super Bowl-style session before leaving for Russian Federation.

"There was a perception across the world and a perception of English football".

"This team shouldn't be burdened with it because they're a fresh group", the coach, who has promoted young players since his appointment in 2016, said. "That's what we are trying to instill into the team".

The public is seeing a new side of the players. "I've just had niggles and wasn't able to stay". But we used to know each other and speak.

"I'm about to have my third child and I'm not going to miss it if I can help it, but I want to get back as fast as I can, so we'll have to see".

"He understands the way I play", Lingard, now boasting 12 caps and a realistic chance of starting against Tunisia, said.

It's not just about the players feeding a voracious traveling media pack with material.

- England, who won the tournament in 1966, were unbeaten in their World Cup qualifiers and are entering the finals in good form after recording three wins and a draw in their last four global friendlies.

"I was playing with a bit of freedom", Rose said of the victory against Costa Rica. Sensing World Cup staff might have an issue with that, they asked Russian officials if their fowl friends could accompany them.

The team, after all, blazed a trail in 1978 by becoming the first team from Africa to win a match at the World Cup.

Invited to expand on his journey from perpetual loanee to marquee player for club and country, he does so with pride and finishes with a flourish.

In the past England players have been accused of being weak after bottling some huge games to crash out of tournaments.

"We learn lessons of the past", Southgate told reporters.

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