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Kings of Anglia Issue 9 Magazine Offer

‘Expectations low? England are still expected to win’ - Stockwell

PUBLISHED: 12:18 18 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:18 18 June 2018

England's (left-right) Kyle Walker, Harry Kane and Danny Welbeck during a training session ahead of tonight's World Cup opener against Tunisia. Photo: PA

England's (left-right) Kyle Walker, Harry Kane and Danny Welbeck during a training session ahead of tonight's World Cup opener against Tunisia. Photo: PA

PA Wire

Former Ipswich Town stalwart Micky Stockwell says England’s players must cope with the weight of expectation heading into their World Cup opener against Tunisia tonight (7pm ko).

All of the Three Lions’ group games will shown on a big screen in the FanZone outside Portman Road over the coming days.

And Stockwell, who made more than 600 appearances for the Blues, will be joined by Town legend John Wark, who represented Scotland at the 1982 World Cup, in providing some live punditry for those in attendance.

“It’s not essential to win your first game, but I do think it helps calm everybody down,” said the 53-year-old.

MORE: Pre-season, injury updates and meeting key staff – the most pressing taks for Paul Hurst on day one

“In some ways, Belgium (Thursday, June 28 – 7pm) will be an easier game for England than the first two because Tunisia and Panama (Sunday, June 24 – 1pm) will probably park the bus.

“People can talk about expectations of this England team being low as much as they like. Against Tunisia and Panama the expectation of the public and the media will be to win.

MORE: Follow us on Facebook for all the latest Blues news and video

“And if they do win those games, everyone will start saying ‘we’re going to win the World Cup’. That’s just how it is.

“We’ve seen what that sort of expectation can do to players in that Iceland game two years ago. And in previous tournaments too. Let’s see how this group copes with that pressure this time around.”

MORE: New Town assistant boss Doig makes no secret of his own management ambitions

Stockwel, added: “It seems like Gareth Southgate has done a good job of preparing them mentally for that challenge, but we won’t truly know until the whistle blows.

“I do think we have got talented forward players that are capable of breaking down the lesser sides. I think our weakness is at centre-back.”

Meanwhile, Stockwell welcomed the start of a new era at Portman Road with the appointment of manager Paul Hurst from League One side Shrewsbury Town.

“I must admit I don’t know much about him,” he said. “But Bobby Robson wasn’t well known before he came to Ipswich and the rest, as they say, is history.

MORE: No excuse for Town not to take cups seriously – Mathie

“Everyone wants to see young players with big potential given a chance, well it’s the same with managers too. Everyone needs that first opportunity. Some take that chance and some don’t. Let’s hope Paul Hurst takes it with both hands and this is the start of exciting times.”

Andre Dozzell has revealed his frustration as his return to action stalled earlier in the season but the teenager is now hungry for minutes on the field after returning to the first-team picture.

ANDY WARREN spoke to Ipswich Town No.2 Stuart Taylor about his journey from cleaning Paul Lambert’s boots at St Mirren to assisting him at Portman Road.

In past columns I have talked about a divide between athletes that earn large amounts of money, and those that do not, and how there is a movement in Ipswich to bring this sporting diversity together.

Striker Kayden Jackson scored a hat-trick as Ipswich Town defeated QPR 5-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Playford Road this afternoon.

Trevoh Chalobah has been training with the full England squad today ahead of the Three Lions’ clash with the United States tomorrow night.

Jordan Graham is training with Oxford United after being given permission to move on by Ipswich Town.

Teenager Jack Lankester hopes to be involved with the Ipswich Town first team for the remainder of the season but would be prepared to spend time out on loan if it aides his development.

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert has been impressing the players with his skills on the training pitch. STUART WATSON looks back on his playing career.

Tristan Nydam is keen to make the most of his loan stay in Scotland but is still keeping a firm eye on parent club Ipswich Town.

Former Ipswich Town boss Paul Hurst is the favourite in the betting as his former club Shrewsbury search for a new manager.

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