Roberto Martinez plays down Eden Hazard injury fears after Belgium win

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Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has played down injury fears over Eden Hazard after the Chelsea player limped out of Monday’s 4-1 friendly win over Costa Rica.

Hazard, Belgium’s captain, hobbled off in the 70th minute after taking a blow to the foot, but Martinez says the injury is not serious.

“Eden is okay, he had a little trouble, but it’s nothing to worry about,” Martinez said in his post-match press conference.

“I really enjoyed his performance. He was sharp and strong, he was majestic.

“At the end he just came off because he had a little bit of a dead leg, a little bit of a knock on his leg.”

The injury to Hazard overshadowed what was a positive evening for Belgium before they head off to Russia.

Romelu Lukaku was the star of the show, highlighting what a threat he will be to England when they meet in what should be a Group G decider on June 28.

Michy Batshuayi (R) celebrates with Belgium's forward Romelu Lukaku

The Manchester United man scored two and made one as Belgium came from behind to beat their Central American opponents, who led through Bryan Ruiz.

Dries Mertens equalised before Lukaku struck either side of half-time to take his tally to 13 goals in the last nine international games.

He then laid on a fourth for Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi.

Lukaku also allayed any fears that Hazard’s injury might be serious, telling Belgian TV: “He took a direct hit, as often. He came out as a precaution.”

The Red Devils are on an 18-match unbeaten run ahead of their Group G opener with Panama next Monday.
And Lukaku can only see his side getting better.

He said: “I think we have made progress. We did not lose, it’s important. We scored a lot of goals tonight.

“We will still progress before the match against Panama and we will give 120 per cent against them. We will continue to make progress later.”

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Danny Welbeck believes nothing can bore him at World Cup after Arsenal injury lay-off

Simon Peach 11/06/2018
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Danny Welbeck spent enough time cooped up through injury that talk of boredom setting in at England’s remote World Cup base is immediately laughed off.

The Three Lions head to Russia on Tuesday as the next phase of World Cup preparations gets under way at their team base in Repino.

Around 45 minutes away from the nearest city of St Petersburg, there have been questions about the suitability of the quiet area for players during the World Cup.

England’s much-maligned Rustenberg base in 2010 has been mentioned in the same breath, but Gareth Southgate gave short shrift to talk of boredom calling it “sad, nonsense and a big red herring”.

Welbeck echoed the England manager’s sentiments ahead of the team heading east, with injury problems of recent years giving him a philosophical outlook.

“For me, nothing like that seems to bother me,” he told Press Association Sport with a laugh.

“I’ve had surgery and then not been allowed to put weight on my leg for two months, so I’ve been stuck in a room and that sort of stuff.

“I don’t get bored now. I’ve been through that, I don’t get bored.

“I know what I can do to occupy myself, occupy my brain.

“If I am on my own, I like my own company (laughs) after that, so I am cool. That sort of stuff won’t really bother me.”

Welbeck’s approach is shaped by the eight-month injury lay-off that saw him miss Euro 2016 and has disrupted his time at Arsenal, where he has had a couple of niggling issues since recovering from that knee complaint.

“Obviously as soon as you have the injury, you’re not in a happy place at all,” the 27-year-old said.

“You know once you’ve had the surgery, you’re going to be out for a certain period of time.

“It’s frustrating.

“I missed the last Euros and you miss however many months of the Premier League season and that’s the one thing you want to do as a footballer – you want to be playing football on the football pitch and enjoying playing the game that you love.

“When you get an injury, that takes it away from you but there’s things that you can do to try and take it in a positive way however hard it may be.

“With it being an injury, it is so negative, but you try and get the positives out of it, see what you can do to learn from the game.

“You might not be able to play but you still learn mentally and that sort of thing, so I think you’ve just got to try and find that positive.

“At the end of the day, you’ve still got that hunger and desire to get back out on the pitch and that’s what will drive you on.”

Welbeck did enough on his return to earn a place in his third major tournament squad with England, although the road to full fitness has had bumps along the way.

“When you come back from an injury, you don’t just go ‘bang’ straight back into things,” he said.

“You have to get into the repetition of playing games, of training consistently and getting more robust because you’ve been out for a long time and you go straight back in at the top end of football.

“It’s hard, you feel it on your body, but you’ve just got to keep on sticking at it, make sure you can do whatever you can to feel as best as you can.

“You just keep ticking away and just keep on trying to improve.”

Welbeck came off the bench last Thursday to wrap up England’s 2-0 friendly win against Costa Rica and is now looking to help make amends for the World Cup four years ago.

“It makes you hungry, but I don’t think you need the extra motivation going into a World Cup,” the forward, one of the five survivors from the 2014 squad, said.

“I think it’s important not to dwell on the past.

“Obviously we know that wasn’t good enough and since then the team, the squad, has come on such a long way.

“We look forward to it with hope and optimism and focus on the World Cup positively.”

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England warned about 'devastating consequences' of tick bites in Russia near World Cup base

Simon Peach 10/06/2018
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England’s players have been warned about the “truly devastating consequences” of tick-borne encephalitis given its prevalence in the area around their World Cup base.

Gareth Southgate’s men jet off to Russia on Tuesday for this summer’s tournament, where they will be based at the forRestMix Club in Repino on the outskirts of St Petersburg.

However, the remote area Harry Kane and Co will call home during the World Cup comes with a health risk, as do some of the places England fans may visit.

Russia has the highest number of reported TBE cases globally and Repino is considered a moderately high zone of a virus the Encephalitis Society calls a “serious health concern”.

Ava Easton, chief executive of The Encephalitis Society, said in a statement to Press Association Sport: “football fans will likely be travelling to sites in Russia where there is a risk of TBE, such as areas like Repino where the England team will be based, and in Nizhny Novgorod for their second game, where the risk is even higher than in Repino.

“It is recommended that anyone planning to spend time outdoors in these TBE endemic European countries speak to their healthcare professional and take measures to help protect themselves from this disease, which can have truly devastating consequences.”

Easton says the risk of TBE is increased for those undergoing outdoor activities in forested or grassy areas, with an infected bite potentially resulting “in a severe illness”.

The NHS say “the risk of getting seriously ill is low” even if bitten, but the viral infection that attacks the central nervous system can cause encephalitis, meningitis or inflammation of the tissues that surround the brain or spinal cord.

Long-term complications include convulsions and paralysis, with the most severe cases leading to death.

The annual number of TBE cases in Russia that are severe enough to require hospitalisation ranges from 5,500 to 10,000.

Press Association Sport understands the Football Association will be taking all necessary precautions during England’s stay in Russia.

Advice on the German Football Association website to fans said getting a TBE vaccination was “important”.

Provided by Press Association Sport        

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