Ashley Young

England team news: Gareth Southgate settles on World Cup starting XI to play Tunisia

The goalkeepers were involved in a separate drill with specialist coach Martyn Margetson but with No1 shirt-wearer Jordan Pickford almost certain to start, it seemed a good indication of England’s starting side a full three days before kick-off against Tunisia in Volgograd.

The biggest surprise was the selection of Young, 32, ahead of Rose, who appeared to have run off doubts about his fitness in the game against Costa Rica.

Rashford was still not able to train – the FA continue to remain optimistic after the player himself tweeted on Wednesday night that his knee-injury was nothing more than a “niggle”, but his absence from any sort of group work since he arrived in Russia has to make him a serious doubt with England due to fly out on Sunday.

It appeared to leave the selection of a single pivot for central midfield as Southgate’s major selection conundrum, the strapping around Dier’s thigh possibly a factor.

But Young’s selection is bound to raise a few eyebrows, not least as former England World Cup captain and Daily Express columnist Terry Butcher has made his concerns about the Manchester United player abundantly clear.

Ashley YoungGETTY

England team news: Is Ashley Young a surprise World Cup starter?

Describing him as potentially one of the biggest liabilities at the World Cup, Butcher explained: “Your wing-backs have to be quick going forward and quick in recovery. Young is neither, which makes him reluctant to go forward because he is worried about the amount of cover he is giving the centre-backs. That one area down our left side could be our undoing.”

Southgate has made it a habit of naming his side at the last possible moment, even to the players themselves.

Yesterday, in front of the cameras, they showed complete unity standing for a minute’s silence in memory of those who lost their lives in the Grenfell Terror disaster a year earlier.

It was an immaculately observed tribute conducted at the start of training – a joint decision made by the players and management as the formal silence at noon UK time coincided with a period rest back in their hotel rooms.

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