Roy Hodgson has said he is pleased with his selection for England’s Group B opener against Russia, but urged his players not to be anxious.
Nine months after qualification was sealed and 24 days after preparations began, England begin their Group B campaign against Leonid Slutsky’s men at the Stade Velodrome.
The match follows two nights of violence in Marseille involving England fans, with some supporters throwing missiles from a roadside brasserie on Friday evening.
The England manager said he hoped supporters could “avoid any troubles lurking around the corner” and was focused on the football, expressing his confidence in the side he believes can start off with a victory against Russia.
Hodgson’s starting line-up for their opening match will be disclosed to the players this morning, and Hodgson said he was “happy” with the team he had chosen.
“I feel happy with it,” he said of his starting line-up, which was revealed to the players on Saturday morning.
“It is not something that has suddenly been sprung upon us over the last few days, it is something which has been emerging certainly over the last six months.
“It hasn’t emerged over the last four years or even over two years but certainly over the last six months the team that I’ll pick and the team I might pick in future games, they’ve been emerging and I feel very comfortable now I know what those players can do on the field and what they can do together.”
Hodgson also called on his players to play freedom in France and not let the big occasion affect their performance.
“We know these players can play football,” Hodgson said of his squad.
“My fear as a coach would be that the players take anxiety on to the field, that they’re weighed down when they go out and play and don’t play as well as they like, imagining the headlines.
“We try to encourage them to believe in themselves, go out and play the football we’ve been trying to play, and we’ll see what it brings.”