Kyle Walker, Jamie Vardy and Raheem Sterling pull amazing faces as they prepare to host Slovakia at Wembley tonight
England will be five points clear with just two games left if they win tonight… but defeat in the Group D showdown could mean a play-off to qualify for next summer’s finals in Russia.
Kyle Walker pulls amazing face as he prepares to throw medicine ball
Jamie Vardy uses heavy ball in England training
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The likes of Jamie Vardy and Kyle Walker were put through their paces using a medicine ball at Tottenham’s training HQ in Hertfordshire.
The stars were throwing the heavy balls around as part of a new training regime dreamed up by the FA’s head of physical performance and nutrition.
Australian Bryce Cavanagh was brought in last November to improve the players’ fitness.
Cavanagh, born in Australia, previously worked in rugby with Melbourne Rebels, Munster Rugby, New South Wales Waratahs and also with the West Indies cricket team.
The players used a medicine ball to improve their core muscles and strengthen the shoulders.
They also work with long sticks to stretch out and warm up the shoulders.
Southgate has also spoken to Germany’s FA about how they prepare for major tournaments and an adviser to the All Blacks team who have strict rules on the attitude of players.
England’s Harry Maguire gurns during training
Raheem Sterling performs excercise designed to strengthen the shoulder muscles
Dele Alli and Kyle Walker in England training
Cavanagh has introduced daily ‘wellness tests’ related to every aspect of the players’ physical and mental shape, as Southgate is determined to leave no stone unturned ahead of the World Cup in Russia next year.
The thinking is to give Southgate and his backroom staff an accurate snapshot of the players’ physical and mental shape before training, to enable coaches to tailor that days work according to test results.
Dele Alli of England performs a drill during an England training
Marcus Rashford stretches using a long pole
The excercises are some of the innovations brought in by Bryce Cavanagh
Southgate has also worked with Cavanagh to alter his squad’s diet.
Players have reported a marked difference in the food they have been give in England duty compared to what they ate under previous managers.
One particularly noticeable difference is a focus on maintaining constant energy levels through frequent snacking on low-sugar products like nuts.
Players are then given lighter main meals to make sure they don’t have a large increase in overall calories.
England stars know a win against Slovakia on Monday will fire them on the brink of next years World Cup
England stars were booed by supporters during their win in Malta