England get their Euro 2016 adventure underway against Russia on the 11 June in a game they simply cannot not lose. A four-day break follows that before they take on Wales as the two sides meet for the first time at a major tournament. Their final game is against Slovakia on 20 June.
The squad flew out to Chantilly, where they will train for the duration of the tournament, on Monday morning with a feeling of quiet optimism around their chances. They have not been handed the most difficult of draws and will avoid the two favourites if they are to qualify from the groups stages – France and Germany are on the other side of the draw.
There is not a lot of experience in the squad but the energy and enthusiasm offered up by the young group could make all the difference and it is something England have lacked in recent international tournaments.
Manchester United have three representatives in Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney and surprise inclusion Marcus Rashford with two of the three poised to start the first game of the group. It remains to be seen what formation Roy Hodgson opts for and where he plays Rooney. There is mixed feeling as to where Rooney’s best position is at this stage of his career and whether or not he should start up front instead of Vardy is that’s where Hodgson envisions him playing.
Chris Smalling, at 26, is one of the leaders at the back for England and will start at centre-half. Hodgson may have left himself a little light at the back but Smalling and John Stones will make up the centre-back pairing barring an injury.
While Marcus Rashford is a long-shot to start, the belief is that Hodgson would not have included him in the squad if he did not feel there was a use for him. If England find themselves behind and in need of a goal, Rashford has proven with United this year that he can offer just that.
Here’s a gallery of pictures of England training in France ahead of Euro 2016 having arrived at their camp on Monday: