England confident ahead of World Cup opener against Tunisia

Southgate has given us freedom – Lingard expects England to play without fear

Southgate has given us freedom – Lingard expects England to play without fear

Belief appears to be coursing through Gareth Southgate's group, helping the Three Lions shed the fear factor that former manager Fabio Capello said has inhibited the national team.

Delph's wife Natalie's due date is June 30, two days after England's final group game against Belgium in Kaliningrad.

"I'm confident with that decision, yeah, definitely".

Managers usually like to keep their starting line-ups close to their chest to avoid giving their rivals a heads-up of their tactical approach but Delph said there was not a risk of a leak now the team was known. "I think he was away at an England camp and he had to fly back to see the birth of his child, he got there 10 minutes before - so hopefully I can do the same".

"The players know the team for the first game already", he said, adding England had been "working on a system of play we think suits the players we have available and the style of play we want".

But Lingard, like many of his team-mates, did not get to this point the easy way.

"We've spoken about it a lot".

Southgate and his 23-man squad are preparing to play their opening fixture in the tournament on Monday, when they take on Group G rivals Tunisia in Volgograd. That's what I've found with this squad. "I've just had niggles and wasn't able to stay".




"But we expect a few more have got some in the neutral sections", Thomas Concannon of England's Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) told AFP.

"Everyone's coming up to me asking me where I'm from". I am waiting for a text from her to say come back home but so far she's been fine.

Handed the captain's armband after a year of conjecture, the Tottenham sharpshooter is being backed to lead from the front - but Southgate underlined the need for support.

"No, nothing changes", Delph said of the striker. "An absolute goalscorer and he's a breath of fresh air to be around".

England and Tunisia met at France 1998 with England winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes. "The preparation remains the same, we're a team, all about the team".

"Essentially, you're trying to get your best players on the field in a formation that allows them to play at their very best and allows you to win matches - because sooner or later you have to win games", he said.

The United attacker has insisted though that there's no reason they both can't play together which is certainly a prospect Southgate has considered before when perhaps facing stubborn opposition.

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