England aiming to 'start brightly and score early goals' – Young

England squad in training

2018 Fifa World Cup on the BBC
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Ashley Young expects England to shed their tag of slow starters when they open their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on Monday.

England last started a major tournament with a win at the 2006 World Cup.

And Manchester United left-back Young expects this squad to reverse that trend in the searing heat of Volgograd.

“You can see in our last two games against Nigeria and Costa Rica that we’ve started brightly and on the front foot and scored early goals,” he said.

“If you start like that in tournaments it could put teams on the back foot and that’s what we’re looking to do in the first game.”

After Monday’s Group G opener against Tunisia, England will face Panama on 24 June and Belgium on 28 June.

Speaking after their first training session in Zelenogorsk, 32-year-old Young said: “It is always important to make a good start in a tournament.

“We want to get off to winning ways. We know each game is going to be tough but we’re fully prepared for that first game.

“You can talk about what has happened historically. We are here, looking to do well in training and win our first match.”

Young says England’s players are pleased with the facilities at their hotel in Repino and at their training base, where they held an open session on Tuesday. They were welcomed by local officials and then spent time at the end signing autographs.

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“The facilities are brilliant,” said Young, the oldest member of the squad. “Everything is there for us. The Football Association has done a magnificent job for us.

“It is a fantastic environment with lots of things to do in there. A lot has been said about getting bored but there will be nothing like that at all. The boys won’t be getting bored in the hotel – there are plenty of things to do.”

Young said that while there is always pressure on an England squad at the start of a World Cup, he is confident Gareth Southgate’s squad can cope with it.

“We just want to get out here and get the tournament started. Everything is there for us,” he added.

“There is a feeling of excitement around the squad and the staff. We are fully prepared and ready for the tournament to start now.

“There is always pressure. There is more pressure because it’s a World Cup but I think every player in this squad has dealt with pressure and is able to go and handle it. It is a young squad but also a squad with experience as well.

“When you’re a kid you want to play in the big tournaments and I’m as excited as anyone else out there.”

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