England receive World Cup boost as Walker trains in Qatar

England receive an early World Cup boost as Kyle Walker trains on their first day in Qatar to give Gareth Southgate a clean bill of health… just over a month since the Man City star’s groin surgery

  • The Three Lions squad had a training session on Wednesday as they prepared for their opener with Iran
  • Gareth Southgate’s England squad touched down in Doha yesterday afternoon with the World Cup looming
  • They underwent a light fitness session in preparation for today’s open training outside of their hotel
  • They were given a heroes welcome as they arrived at the Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar by Tivoli last night
  • Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for all the latest news as the World Cup approaches 

England’s World Cup squad took part in an open training session in Qatar today, as they prepare for their first group stage match against Iran in five days time.

The Three Lions were handed a massive boost as full-back Kyle Walker partook in the session despite undergoing groin surgery just over a month ago.

The squad got down to work at the Al Wakrah Sports Club in Doha and underwent a number of different training drills in their first full session since arriving in Qatar.

Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker (front right) took part in training despite being a doubt due to injury

Gareth Southgate leads England’s training session at the Al Wakrah Sports Club in Doha on Wednesday afternoon

Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips took to the pitch as the Three Lions got their training underway

Southgate laughs with Henderson as England prepare for their open training session having arrived in Doha last night

Manchester City star Jack Grealish (L) laughs with Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale as the squad begin to start training

Man United centre-back Harry Maguire – sporting a sleeveless training top – prepares to start training in Qatar

Everton’s Jordan Pickford (R) will be hoping to retain his starting place in goal for Gareth Southgate’s side against Iran

England captain Harry Kane looked in good spirits as the squad got to work at the Al Wakrah Sports Club

England begin their World Cup campaign against Iran on Monday, before further group fixtures against the USA and Wales

Walker’s return from injury will come as a huge relief for Southgate given England’s long list of unavailable players for the tournament. 

Fellow full-back’s Reece James and Ben Chilwell were both omitted from the 26-man squad given the fact they would not recover in time from their respective injuries.  

The Three Lions squad were seen performing stretches outside of the Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar by Tivoli early on Wednesday morning in the Doha sunshine, as part of their recovery session.

The squad completed a light training practice after arriving last night, before further preparations got underway at their Al Wakrah training facility later today.

Jordan Henderson sits with his legs folded as the England squad underwent a recovery session earlier in the day

The Three Lions squad are getting their preparations underway with their opening match against Iran being in five days

Defensive duo Eric Dier (L) and Trent Alexander-Arnold look on as they prepare their muscles for training later today

All the players were provided with a chilled bottle of water as the Doha sunshine beat down on them in the morning

England’s stars lie on the floor as they complete their recovery session following a light training session last night

Manchester City’s Kyle Walker will be hoping to negate the effects of his recent injury by preparing thoroughly with England

Gareth Southgate’s side touched down in the Qatari capital at around 8.30pm local time (5.30pm GMT) last night and looked in a relaxed mood as they exited the plane. 

After landing in Doha last night, England then boarded a bus and travelled to their team hotel, where they were greeted by fans as they arrived.

Southgate waved to many of the supporters who had gathered outside the Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar by Tivoli – a location he had selected as the team hotel after five previous visits.

Local football fans decided to serenade Southgate and his team with England’s iconic ”Football’s Coming Home’ song to make them feel welcome as they stepped off the bus outside the hotel on Tuesday evening.  

Staff members of the Souq Al Wakra Hotel gathered in the reception area and applauded the team as they entered the building. 

The Three Lions squad received a heroes welcome as they walked through the doors of the Souq Al Wakra Hotel

Southgate and his England captain Harry Kane took part in several interviews outside the hotel before heading in

Gareth Southgate and his England squad were greeted by hundreds of local football fans as they arrived at their hotel

Southgate and his players were handed flowers upon their arrival and tried some of the local delicacies before settling into their rooms. 

Southgate’s decision to stay at the Souq Al Wakra Hotel was largely based on logistics and transport links, with his chosen hotel a short drive from eight of the 10 tournament venues. 

The hotel – which describes itself as ‘an elegant seaside stay’ – has access to a private beach and offers an on-site spa for full body scrubs with relaxing strokes, foot rituals, facials, reflexology and hot-stone journeys.

In addition, there are five restaurants, some with a sea view, with Western favourites or Arabic and Levantine dishes such mezze plates, mixed grill or local dish sawani. 

The players were in good spirits ahead of the tournament – which will get underway on Sunday with Qatar vs Ecuador 

Southgate and his Three Lions squad were handed flowers upon their arrival at the team hotel in Al Wakrah

Southgate’s side left the national team training ground at St George’s Park on Tuesday morning and headed out onto the team coach, where a huge group of supporters were waiting to cheer them on.

They headed from their Staffordshire base to Birmingham Airport, where they stepped onto their flight to Doha. 

England arrived in Doha on a Gay Pride jet – a ‘Rain Bow’ Virgin Atlantic A350 Airbus – in a show of defiance over the host nation amid concerns over the treatment of LGBTQ+ people at the tournament. 

FA chiefs proposed the idea of the Gay Pride plane to highlight concerns over gay rights in Qatar, where same-sex relationships remain a criminal offence and whose World Cup Ambassador last week said homosexuality is ‘damage in the mind’. 

Southgate is heading into his third tournament as England boss since he took over from Sam Allardyce back in 2016

England captain Harry Kane exiting their plane after landing in Qatar – he is just three goals away from being the nation’s all-time record goalscorer

Callum Wilson (left) and James Maddison, who both won their last England cap back in 2019, arrive in Qatar in good spirits

England’s travelled to Qatar on a plane called the ‘Rain Bow’, pictured at Birmingham Airport on Tuesday ahead of their flight 

The aircraft features a picture of Oscar, a cartoon man holding a Union Jack flag while wearing rainbow-coloured trainers, beneath the cabin

Earlier that day, they had heard a rousing speech from Prince William and received encouragement from a large group of young fans as they departed St George’s Park.

Addressing the players, Prince William said: ‘What you and Gareth have built here is something special, that’s clear to see.

‘Play for each other, support each other, enjoy it, and I’m sure you’ll go far.’

‘I’m really here to point out the rest of the country is behind you, we’re all rooting for you. Enjoy it.’

Prince William offered words of encouragement to Kane (right) and the England players as they departed for Qatar

Speaking before they departed, England captain Harry Kane said: ‘I’m excited. The World Cup is a special occasion. Obviously we’re flying out today. So I’m really excited.

‘For most professional players, its the biggest tournament you can play in. I’ve been lucky enough to do one and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. And I can’t wait to get out this weather and get some sun!’

After the players boarded the two coaches, they set off for the airport as the eager fans waved their flags and chanted ‘England! England! England!’.

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