England stars Welbeck and Young no concerned by racism in Russia
PUBLISHED: 10:30 14 June 2018
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England touched down in Russia this week ahead of the World Cup, with their 23-man squad including 11 black, Asian and ethnic minority players - the highest number they have taken to a major competition.
Among them is Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck, who is looking forward to returning to Russia having played against CSKA Moscow in the Europa League last season.
“I am looking forward to it. I am excited. I think every single player is,” said Welbeck.
“We’re all really looking forward to going and getting out there. I went there a couple of months ago with Arsenal and things were fine out there.
“There were no troubles or worries whatsoever, so I’ve had the experience of going there not so long ago. I can’t wait to get back.”
Team-mate Ashley Young insists he has no concerns over his family travelling out to support the Three Lions.
Gareth Southgate’s squad landed in St Petersburg on Tuesday afternoon en route to their training base in Repino, with the tournament getting under way when hosts Russia face Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
England trained for the first time on Wednesday and their campaign begins on Monday with a Group G opener against Tunisia in Volgograd.
There are widespread concerns surrounding racism on the eve of the World Cup, with the Russian Football Union fined £22,000 by FIFA for racist chanting in a March friendly against France in St Petersburg.
Such potential flash points led to Tottenham defender Danny Rose asking his family to remain behind at home amid fears of racist abuse.
But Young will have his family present at the games and backed the Football Association’s security measures to keep everyone safe.
“I’ve got no concerns at all,” the Manchester United man told Press Association Sport.
“I’ve got a family that are going out there. The FA have spoken to us security-wise and I’ve got every confidence in them and with family going out there.”
Ahead of their departure, the official squad photograph was released with every player and member of coaching staff present.
*See inside for our special pullout on the World Cup.