England hoping Marcus Rashford is fit to start against Tunisia
REPINO, Russia - England forward Marcus Rashford has suffered a "slight knock" in the final training session before heading to the World Cup in Russia, manager Gareth Southgate said. The 20-year old, who scored 13 goals for Manchester United in all competitions last season, will be hopeful of a starting spot in Southgate's team after impressing in the warm-up games, including a long-range goal against Costa Rica.
"Marcus took a slight knock but nothing too serious so we will have a look at that ahead of Thursday's session which is open for everyone to see," Southgate told British media. "We have another week of preparation and a lot of competition for places, as you know."
Southgate has not yet decided on the starting lineup ahead of Monday's World Cup opener against Tunisia, saying there are "one or two very close calls" which will be decided once training resumes in Repino. England will also face Panama and Belgium in Group G.
Meanwhile, defender Kyle Walker is ready to sacrifice his preferred right-back spot and play as a centre-half at his first World Cup, the 28-year-old has said. A key member of Manchester City's title-winning team last season, Walker has been deployed as a right-sided centre-back in a back-three by manager Gareth Southgate and is likely to retain the spot against Tunisia.
"I have been playing professionally since I was 18 at right-back, so to go to your first World Cup and probably not play in your preferred position... is... well, not disappointing but a little bit of a step back," Walker told British media. "I have to move on from it... as long as the manager feels it is going to benefit the team, then why not?"
Walker, who was an integral part of a City defence that conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League last season, outlined the importance of reading the game as a centre-half. "It is about reading the game, I don't want to leave space at the back to get on a counter-attack," he added. "I'm a defender first and foremost, and if I'm playing right centre-half I am even more of a defender than the wing-backs".
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 12, 2018