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Delph: "Pep helped me just as he has other City players"

19 Juin 2018

"A lot of people messaged me to say thank you, that they know someone who is going through this or has been through that and that I've helped them and given them the confidence to express themselves", Rose said.

Having a laugh and a giggle hasn't been something that England teams have been known for over the past decade or so, when heavily hyped teams have failed to make much progress in any of the worldwide tournaments they have played. Sensing World Cup staff might have an issue with that, they asked Russian officials if their fowl friends could accompany them.

Captain Harry Kane, one of the many England players who watched England's campaign in Brazil fizzle out from his summer holidays four years ago, said Southgate had brought fresh, positive ideas to his new-look team.

The Eagles of Carthage have never got beyond the group stage in four attempts, and in a group with England and Belgium, may need something special to change that in Russian Federation.

Jordan Pickford, who is likely to get the nod in goal, has kept clean sheets in two of his three global caps, and against a Tunisia side likely to play with little attacking intent, I think he can add another.

There is also gratitude towards Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho off the back of his best season to date.

Gareth Southgate believes England's players are as prepared, focused and ready as they can be for their eagerly anticipated World Cup opener against Tunisia. "We know how they like to play and we have a game plan which we hope will work", explained Delph at a press conference today.

"It's very exciting if I'm being honest", Delph said. He got back ten minutes before, he said.

"I've been speaking to the lads we've got at City, I spoke to Gareth often, so I've been well aware of what's been going on and what's been said in camp".

"We don't see any dangers, everyone can see the security around the tournament".

That is essentially the formula Southgate is expected to use in the World Cup with Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young likely to occupy the wing-back positions which Conte used to such good effect with Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso.

"But if we got to the knockout stage and we could win a match - we have not done that since 2006 - then that would be a step in the right direction".

"I've met many of them and lots have stories from tournaments going way back. They are important attributes we do discuss as a team".