Marcus Rashford missed England training for a second successive day and is now a doubt for Monday’s opening World Cup Group G fixture against Tunisia.
Although both Rashford and the Football Association are playing down the extent of the knee injury — described as a ‘slight knock’ — the forward stayed behind at the team hotel while the rest of the squad boarded the bus for the short journey to their training facility at Zelenogorsk.
Rashford sustained the injury during England’s final training session at St George’s Park on Monday before heading to Russia. The 20 year-old did not train on Wednesday and was working in the gym on his own on Thursday while the squad were put through their paces.
It means Rashford has only two days to prove his fitness before England fly to Volgograd on Sunday to prepare for the Tunisia match. The forward was not expected to start the match, with Raheem Sterling due to be selected ahead of him, but was impressive in England’s final warm-up game against Costa Rica and had been pushing for a place.
England’s training involved a warm-up exercise with the players playing a version of American Football using a Vortex football — a kind of American Football-shaped ball with a tail that makes a whistling noise when thrown like a quarter-back. The tail acts as a hand-grip and also allows the ball to be thrown further and the players split into teams and were not allowed to run with it, having to pass the ball and then move.
Before they started training England held a minute’s silence to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, in which 72 people lost their lives, a disaster that has been supported by the FA and players, in particular Raheem Sterling who, of course, started his career at Queen’s Park Rangers.