Southgate plays down team leak ahead of Sunday's Panama clash

Lynette Rowe
June 24, 2018

They should be excited about that. "They are a young team".

England trained in the mild climes of their Zelenogorsk base on Saturday morning before flying into the searing heat of Nizhny Novogorod, where temperatures were as high as 32C.

With a victory, England will join Belgium as the second and final team in Group G to advance to the knockout stage.

Senegal's charismatic, 42-year-old coach, Aliou Cisse, became an Internet darling after his fist-pumping celebration and emphatic sideline gestures during the win over Poland. "I like how my team works". It's more around the flow of the day, leave maximum time for physical recovery.

"The heat is different in different parts of the country". "There's no physiological benefit to training in the heat a couple of weeks before".

Midfielder Jordan Henderson said the players knew what to do: "It's basic training. That is the key thing".

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England can reach the last 16 with a win over Panama but they will need to do so in front of a relatively low number of fans who have made the trip from England.

It is a big talking point and has cropped up in relation to Ireland's football and rugby teams in the past, too - is it the job of reporters to present the news as they see it or to pull together for the national good? "It's an incredible achievement and they'll be wounded by what happened the other night and will want to respond and make it a tough game for us". They speed up play very quickly and have a one-touch approach which is incredible. "At every corner he seemed to be getting grabbed and wrestled, but he's got away from his man twice, stuck two in the back of the net and won us the game", Maguire said.

On the one hand, there are those saying that the media should be impartial when reporting on the team, while others believe that they have overstepped the mark, particularly given Southgate and his players have been extremely open with reporters before the tournament and in Russian Federation. We're a team who are hungry and want to improve.

England's players are healthy entering this match, but what about their manager? Equally we have to play with intelligence and keep improving.

The first media storm of a hitherto relaxed campaign for the Three Lions was brewing on Friday after Gareth Southgate's planned team was inadvertently revealed when assistant manager Steve Holland's notes were photographed at training on Thursday.

"Obviously if we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team it's a disadvantage to us. Given that was just a squad list, it doesn't make any difference to us really".

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