Lingard and England ready to continue family affair in Russian Federation

"We've come here with a big squad and everyone is fighting for their place".

Alli was impressive in England's opening group game, a 2-1 win over Tunisia, until he picked up a thigh injury which kept him out of the 6-1 crushing of Panama and 1-0 loss to Belgium.

Such defensive instabilities must be a worry to Southgate and as good as they've looked going forward so far, they give the opposition chances, with teams averaging over nine shots a game against them.

"He is a great finisher in and around the box, but we have to be aware of it and deal with it", said Lingard.

"I'm very concerned, it's very worrying", Jose Pekerman said after James Rodriguez limped off after just 31 minutes of Colombia's 1-0 win over Senegal.

"I want the players to attack the tournament the way they have, that does not change now we are in the knockout stage".

"If there are teams knocking out Spain and Germany they have to be respected, there are many countries with different generations of players coming through, and we feel we're one of those countries".

"His wife is due to go into labour - I have said all along to the players that this is a big tournament but family is more important", added the England manager, who said Delph has been a key part of the squad. "The team spirit is awesome", Lingard told reporters.

"These are the games you want to be involved in, the games that matter, the lads have the chance to write their own stories now", he said. He has had his players replicating shootout situations since before their arrival in Russian Federation, including the long lonely walk from the halfway line, with his squad having undertaken psychometric tests to ascertain who would take the penalties.

"I really believe in the group of players we've got". Fabian Schar and captain Stephan Lichtsteiner will both miss the game as they serve their one-game ban.

"For now we're family and we've really got a strong bond at the moment between everyone".

The winners of that tie will face Sweden, whose last semi-final was in 1994, or Switzerland - who have never been beyond the last eight. That shouldn't change in the knockout stage.

No Englishman has won the Golden Boot award as top scorer at a World Cup since Gary Lineker bagged a half-dozen at Mexico 1986. "But we're know our qualities and our threats, so we can pose them a few problems as well".

"It's pointless us even thinking about what might happen after this game".

"I don't think he's had much chance with the goals that have gone in, that's a goalkeeper's lot at times".

England struggled against Belgium when they weren't able to get the ball into the middle in advanced positions.

  • Julie Sanders