Midfielder Ross Barkley believes England have to be positive in the group stage of the World Cup and is hopeful he can realise “every kid’s dream” by facing some of the best players on the planet.
The 20-year-old, who had a sopell on loan at Leeds United in 2012, is likely to be on the bench for England’s opening match against Italy in Manaus on Saturday, with matches to follow against Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Doubts have been raised over whether Roy Hodgson’s side can actually make the knockout stage and Barkley thinks their first result could be crucial.
“It’s very important when you go into a tournament, to set the tone in the first game,” he said.
“You have got to start with a good result, go into the game prepared and looking to win the game. With all the big-name players it’s going to be a big test playing against Uruguay but if we get a good result against Italy we can take confidence into the second game. We need to be positive throughout the group stage.”
Ankle injury victim Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks on course for a quick return to action after he took part in an intense sprint workout during England’s first full training session Rio de Janeiro.