Knee complaint sidelines Marcus Rashford for England's first training in Russia

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Marcus Rashford sat out England’s first training session in Russia due to a knee complaint.

Preparations for the World Cup could scarcely have gone any better up until now, with Gareth Southgate’s initial 23-man selection remaining intact after beating Nigeria and Costa Rica.

Rashford shone in the latter and scored a superb opener in a man-of-the-match display, underlining his claims for a starting berth in Monday’s Group G opener against Tunisia.

However, the 20-year-old’s hopes received a setback after missing England’s first training session in Russia with a knee knock.

The football Association indicated Rashford’s absence was only a precautionary measure, with Southgate calling it a “slight knock” upon touching down on Tuesday.

The remaining 22 members of England’s squad trained at Spartak Zelenogorsk’s stadium, where around 400 local children joined dignitaries in welcoming the team to the country.

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Kylian Mbappe laughs away World Cup injury concerns after limping off during France training

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Kylian Mbappe went off injured during France training.

Kylian Mbappe has played down concerns over an injury suffered during training on Tuesday, which saw him limp off during France’s practice after being challenged by defender Adil Rami.

“I’m fine, it’s just a knock so it doesn’t matter but thank you for your messages,” the 19-year-old tweeted.

“And leave my friend Adil Rami alone, it wasn’t nasty,” he added, after fans started leaving comments on the centre-back’s Instagram after it seemed that he had injured the star youngster.

France play Australia in their opening World Cup Group C match on Saturday, before playing Peru and Denmark.

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Marcus Rashford is an injury concern as England arrive in Russia

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A concern: Marcus Rashford

England manager Gareth Southgate revealed forward Marcus Rashford picked up a “slight knock” before the squad travelled to Russia for the World Cup.

The Three Lions landed in St Petersburg on Tuesday afternoon en route to their training base in Repino, with the tournament getting under way when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Southgate  confirmed there were no major injury concerns, but would assess Manchester United forward Rashford ahead of the first scheduled open training session on Wednesday.

“Marcus took a slight knock, but nothing too serious, so we will have a look at that ahead of tomorrow’s session which is open for everybody to see, but other than that, everybody came through fine,” Southgate  said in an interview with BBC Sport at St Petersburg airport.

“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 Group G opener against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18 “if it was tomorrow”, but insisted there was still plenty of time for players to stake their claim.

“We have another week of preparation and a lot of competition for places. That is good, things can change pretty quickly,” Southgate  said before the squad headed off to their base at the ForRest Mix Club in Repino.

“You can pick knocks up, there is one or two very close calls that we can see how we players are when we get into sessions here.”

Harry Kane will lead England into the World Cup as captain.

The Tottenham forward believes the squad can build on a positive atmosphere within the camp.

“We are obviously excited to be here now. We just wanted to get over here and settled to start to prepare for the games ahead,” he said. “It is a World Cup – there is always going to be pressure, nerves and excitement.

“For us it is about working hard and training hard until the game, then going out there and having some fun.”

England’s 23-man squad includes 11 black, Asian and ethnic minority players – the highest number they have taken to any major competition.

Ashley Young insists he has no concerns over his family travelling out to support the Three Lions.

There are widespread concerns surrounding racism on the eve of the World Cup, with the Russian Football Union fined £22,000 by FIFA for racist
chanting in a March friendly against France in St Petersburg.

Such potential flash points led to Tottenham defender Danny Rose asking his family to remain behind at home amid fears of racist abuse.

But Young will have his family present at the games and backed the Football Association’s security measures to keep everyone safe.

“I’ve got no concerns at all,” the Manchester United man told Press Association Sport.

“I’ve got a family that are going out there. The FA have spoken to us security-wise and I’ve got every confidence in them and with family going out there.”

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