Ashley Young has no safety concerns as England head to Russia for 2018 World Cup

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Ashley Young and the England team have headed to Russia.

England set off on their journey to the World Cup on Tuesday morning with Ashley Young insisting he has no concerns over his family travelling out to support the Three Lions.

Gareth Southgate‘s squad departed St George’s Park around 11:00BST en route to their training base in Repino, with the tournament getting under way when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

England’s campaign begins on Monday with their Group G opener against Tunisia in Volgograd.

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 flashpoints 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.

Welbeck

“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.”

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

Among them is Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck, who is looking forward to returning to Russia having played against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League last season.

“I am looking forward to it. I am excited. I think every single player is,” he said.

“We’re all really looking forward to going and getting out there. I went there a couple of months ago with Arsenal and things were fine out there.

“There were no troubles or worries whatsoever, so I’ve had the experience of going there not so long ago. I can’t wait to get back.”

Ahead of their departure, the official squad photograph was released with every player and member of coaching staff present.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Spain have studied Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo well, says David de Gea

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David de Gea and Spain will face Portugal.

As Spain gear up for their first game in the 2018 World Cup, against Portugal, goalkeeper David de Gea has revealed that La Roja have done their homework well and studied forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Manchester United star didn’t have the best of games against Switzerland during the build-up to the tournament, but is hoping to kick-start his World Cup campaign on a positive note.

“The first match is always important, and more so when it is against a rival as hard and complicated as Portugal,” he continued.

“We have to face the game as we did in the qualifying phase, that is, playing our own game.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is well studied, and everyone knows he’s one of the best in the world.

“He also has a great team behind him, they’re European champions and it will be a tough game.”

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Egypt has best chance of success in 2018 World Cup among MENA region teams, young Arabs say

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With a record four Arab national teams competing in the FIFA World Cup this year – Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia – ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller’s 10th annual Arab Youth Survey reveals that young people across the region think that Egypt has the best chance among the Arab nations of progressing through the tournament.

Two in three young Arabs (65 per cent) say they will closely follow the World Cup competition, which kicks off in Russia on June 14, 2018 with the Saudia Arabia team playing the hosts of the World Cup; and young Arab women (60 per cent) are nearly as likely to follow the competition as young Arab men (70 per cent).

Among those who will follow the competition, 14 per cent say that Germany will be crowned the FIFA World Cup 2018 champions, 13 per cent say Brazil has the best chance to win, while another 12 per cent expect Argentina to win.

Among those who will follow the competition, 11 per cent say they will support Egypt, making the Egyptian team as popular as Argentina (12 per cent) and Germany (10 per cent).

Egypt is the clear fan favorite in the GCC countries, with 24 per cent of GCC youth saying they will support Egypt in the competition.

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When asked specifically about the four Arab nations taking part in the World Cup, Egypt is the favorite with a third or respondents (34 per cent) saying Egypt will outperform other Arab countries in Russia, followed by Morocco (22 per cent), Saudi Arabia (21 per cent), and Tunisia (19 per cent).

Sunil John, founder of ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and President, Middle East, Burson Cohn & Wolfe, said: “The FIFA World Cup is going to be a major event for youth in the Middle East and North Africa. With the highest ever participation from Arab national teams, it’s not surprising that two in every three young Arabs will be following the competition closely.”

“The FIFA World Cup encourages a sense of unity among supporters in the Arab world, and brings feelings of hope and excitement across the region.”

The survey was conducted prior to Egypt’s star player, Mohammed Salah, suffering a shoulder injury during Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last month.

Salah’s involvement in Russia is still hanging in the balance but there is hope that he will make a full recovery and participate in Egypt’s opening match against Uruguay on June 15, 2018.

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The ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey is the largest survey of its kind of the Middle East’s largest demographic – its youth.

For this year’s Survey, international polling firm PSB Research conducted 3,500 face-to-face interviews with exclusively Arab national men and women aged 18-24 in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain; Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Yemen, between January 21 and February 20, 2018.

Read the full findings and expert insight and commentary on this year’s Survey at www.arabyouthsurvey.com

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