Marcus Rashford was again conspicuous by his absence as England trained ahead of their World Cup opener against Tunisia.
Gareth Southgate’s squad continued preparations for Monday’s Group G clash in Volgograd at the Spartak Zelenogorsk Stadium, where the session was a man light for the second successive day.
Rashford missed training on Wednesday with a knee issue that again kept him out on Thursday, when he stayed at the team’s forRestMix Club hotel in Repino to do separate work.
Southgate called it a “slight knock” upon landing in Russia and Rashford attempted to allay concerns about his fitness on Twitter.
“Thanks for the messages I’ve been getting,” he posted on Wednesday evening. “Picked up a slight niggle but nothing to worry about #ThreeLions”
While the knee issue does not seem too serious, it may well extinguish Rashford’s hopes of being in the line-up to face Tunisia on Monday.
The 20-year-old had bolstered his chances of starting the Group G opener with a man-of-the-match display in last week’s 2-0 friendly send-off win against Costa Rica.
Rashford’s knee issue meant he was the only squad member absent from training on Thursday morning, when England players and staff observed a minute’s silence to mark the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Southgate’s team showed their respect for those who lost their lives in last summer’s tragedy in London before training, where a number of staff wore Grenfell green heart badges.
Media had access to the first 15 minutes of training and saw the players warm up for the main part of the session.
England were set to host their first press conference since arriving in Russia at the Repino Cronwell Park hotel, with Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier set to face the media on Thursday afternoon.
The 51-year-old was relieved of his duties on the eve of the tournament after Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales learned – just five minutes before the official announcement was made – of his deal to become Real Madrid manager after the tournament.
“I am very sad, but hoping that we have a magnificent World Cup and that we win,” Lopetegui told reporters from Cadena SER and COPE as left Krasnodar airport for a flight to Madrid.
Former Spain coach Javier Clemente has accused Rubiales of being “clueless” in his role.
“Speaking in football terms, in terms of what a club is and what sports management is, Rubiales is clueless,” he told radio station Onda Vasca.
“He is a rookie and his arguments are always a bit dictatorial.”
The Spain squad, with director of football Fernando Hierro now in charge, left Krasnodar bound for Sochi on Thursday ahead of their World Cup opener with Portugal at the weekend.
France forward Kylian Mbappe has played down an injury scare after he limped out of training on Tuesday afternoon as Les Bleus stepped up their preparations for the World Cup.
Didier Deschamps’ squad were taking part in an open training session at the Glebovets Stadium in Istra when Paris St Germain striker Mbappe went down following a challenge with defender Adil Rami.
Here’s what the youngster had to say…