England manager Gareth Southgate will still hold some World Cup injury concerns after James Maddison left training early on Thursday. The Three Lions have stepped up their preparation for Monday’s game against Iran, but Maddison wasn’t present among the 25-man group.
England are out in the 33C heat in Al Wakrah with just four days to go until their Group B campaign gets underway. But Maddison’s absence will worry supporters after he suggested he was fit on the back of an injury scare in Leicester City’s win at West Ham United last weekend.
The 25-year-old was pictured heading into the dressing room from the training pitch, a concerning sight so close to the tournament curtain-raiser. But reporters present at the session have been told that England are ‘managing his workload’ ahead of group-stage clashes with Iran, the USA and Wales.
Maddison’s condition suggests he won’t feature in Monday’s opener, joining Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker as an injury doubt. However, Southgate will likely be happy to take the precaution at this early stage in the tournament so he can call upon the in-form star further down the line.
JUST IN: Mauricio Pochettino open to replacing Gareth Southgate as England boss
Speaking in his press conference on Wednesday, Maddison claimed there were no ‘major problems’ with a knock he picked up last week. And he revealed he planned to do separate work with the England physios, which he could complete today while his team-mates train on the pitch.
He said: “The injury is OK. We had a scan the day before we met up, and it was a positive scan. I had a little problem in the lead-up to the West Ham game. I wanted to play, but I didn’t want to not play because of the World Cup. That’s not the sort of person I am. I wanted to show the focus was still there.
READ MORE: Newcastle star Bruno Guimaraes has clear view on board signing Ronaldo
“I managed to score early and carry on for a little bit after that, but there was soreness, and it was getting a little bit worse as the game was going on because I didn’t want it to get worse and we could get someone on who can run at full sprint.
“The scan was a good scan and no major problems. I’ll have to do a little bit of work with the physios here to get up to full speed. It shouldn’t affect me playing in the first game. I might just have to do some separate work with the physios, but I’m hopeful I’ll be fine.”
Want the latest Premier League news as we publish it on Express Sport? Join our Facebook group by clicking here.