Young & dan­ger­ous

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE -

Three Lions rar­ing to go against Tu­nisia, says Man United de­fender

ENG­LAND spent their first full day in Rus­sia yes­ter­day, and they al­ready looked ea­ger for the foot­ball to start. That was the mes­sage from the play­ers af­ter they put on an open train­ing ses­sion at the ground they have built for them­selves in Ze­lenogorsk, the next vil­lage along from Repino where they are based.

FIFA rules state that ev­ery World Cup com­peti­tor must put on a train­ing ses­sion for the ben­e­fit of the lo­cals near their base. So Eng­land de­cided to get it out of the way early.

Hav­ing a r r i ved i n Repino o n Wed­nes­day, es­corted by the po­lice from St Peters­burg air­port, they drove up from Repino to Ze­lenogorsk – two points on the same road – yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Here Eng­land have built them­selves a train­ing ground al­most from scratch, but once Eng­land’s cam­paign is done, whether two weeks from now or next month, the ‘Spar­tak Ze­lenogorsk’ ground will be handed over to the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

So this was a chance for the lo­cal com­mu­nity to say thank you and wel­come, al­though it was not en­tirely or­ganic: 31

Mar­cus Rash­ford was 18 years and 120 days when he scored his first goal for the Red Devils, the ex­act same age that for­mer team­mate Wayne Rooney was when he got his first goal for Ever­ton.

Stars­port equivalent events are hap­pen­ing all over Rus­sia this week.

Here, the English play­ers had English mu­sic played to them – not at the choice of the FA – and they emerged onto the train­ing pitch at mid­day to the Stones Roses’ This is the one.

Ap­plauded by lo­cals in Eng­land shirts and with Eng­land flags, they were greeted by girls in tra­di­tional Rus­sian dress – gold crown, white shirt, gold blouse, red skirt with gold trim – and by lo­cal of­fi­cials.

Alexan­der Savi­nov, the di­rec­tor of the lo­cal sport school, was grate­ful for the new fa­cil­ity he will soon have use of.

But Alexei Kuimov, the head of St Peters­burg’s Kurortny Dis­trict, which con­tains both Repino and Ze­lenogorsk, was ef­fu­sive.

Croa­tia and Saudi Ara­bia may be nearby, but Kuimov was de­lighted to host the team from “the mother­land of foot­ball”.

He thanked Eng­land for choos­ing Kurortny Dis­trict, hoped that the lo­cal hos­pi­tal­ity would bring them suc­cess, then wished “out­stand­ing vic­to­ries” upon them.

Fi­nally, Eng­land were pre­sented with a kar­avaj, a large ined­i­ble loaf of bread dec­o­rated with two goals, a foot­ball and a Rus­sian flag, and a teapot that looked like a more or­na­men­tal ver­sion of the League Cup tro­phy.

When train­ing be­gan it was gen­tle, cul­mi­nat­ing in pos­ses­sion ex­er­cises and small-sided games be­fore the play­ers walked off to sign au­to­graphs and pose for self­ies.

Ash­ley Young spoke to the press and gave the clear im­pres­sion of a man who is just hoping the foot­ball starts as soon as pos­si­ble.

Eng­land have two more days of proper train­ing, away from lo­cals and cam­eras, be­fore fly­ing to Vol­gograd on Sun­day and play­ing Tu­nisia on Mon­day night (Tues 2am Malaysian time).

“We just wanted to get out here and get started. You can see ex­cite­ment around the team and the squad and the staff,” Young said.

“We feel like we are fully pre­pared and we are ready for the tour­na­ment to start.”

No team or player would ever say other­wise, but Young was clear that Eng­land want to make a strong start, to their cam­paign and to their open­ing game it­self. “It is al­ways im­por­tant to make a good start to a tour­na­ment. You can see from the last two games we have started brightly and on the front foot and if you start like that it can put teams on the back foot,” he added. “And that is what we are look­ing to do come the first game.” – The In­de­pen­dent El Brujo Mayor,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.