Boss Southgate explains why he named his England team for Tunisia two days early

Gareth Southgate named his starting XI early to his players to help them feel relaxed ahead of the World Cup opener, writes John Cross in Volgograd .

Southgate has been naming his team on the day of games recently, but confirmed to them on Saturday who will play against Tunisia here on Monday night.

As we revealed last Thursday, Ashley Young will start at left wing-back with Jordan Henderson getting the nod in midfield over Eric Dier and Harry Maguire in central defence.

Southgate might yet play Danny Rose later in the tournament as he gains match fitness, presenting Young with a battle to hold onto his place in the side.

With 24 hours to go before kickoff, the England boss said: “The players pretty much knew the team from training. That gave some clarity.

"It’s something that, in the couple of tournaments I played in, the managers did in the lead-up to the first game.

“It gave everyone the opportunity to focus, and the lads not in the team the chance to put that disappointment behind them and train well and give their best.

“The squad we’ve got is exceptional. It’s not easy to pick a team. The margins are different.

"We have different profiles of players in different positions, but that means you can work on more specifics in the week. That was going to be helpful this week.”

England are finally ready to show the world their best moves after being made to wait for his first dance of the World Cup.

They are one of the last teams to see action at the finals, which began last Thursday, and Southgate cannot wait to get going.

He said: “Although we are last to play and that can feel like you are waiting at the back of the room for your time on the dancefloor.

“It’s given us time to work tactically and improve the understanding of how we want to play.”


TUNISIA Hassen; Meriah, S Ben Youssef, Bronn, Maaloul; Skhiri, Badri, Sassi; F Ben Youssef, Khazri, Sliti.

ENGLAND Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Henderson, Alli, Young; Sterling, Lingard, Kane.

Referee: Wilmar Roldan (Colombia).

What’s your Tunisia vs England prediction?


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