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Phil Jones only man missing as England prepare for Nigeria test

Three Lions train ahead of World Cup warm-up clash with the Manchester United defender absent for the birth of his child.

Gareth Southgate put his England squad through their paces on Friday with Phil Jones the only unexpected absentee ahead of the friendly against Nigeria.

The Three Lions play their first World Cup warm-up match at Wembley on Saturday as Southgate begins to finalise his plans for the tournament.

Jones missed out as he left the camp to attend the birth of his child, with the Manchester United man also set to sit out Saturday’s game.

Adam Lallana trained with the squad on Thursday and was again present on Friday, the Liverpool midfielder on the standby list having overcome a hamstring injury.

While he is currently set to remain behind when England jet off to Russia, Southgate is clearly a fan of Lallana who is close to a place in the squad despite starting just one Premier League game in an injury-hit campaign.

“I’ve had continual dialogue with Adam throughout the season, close and personal conversations,” Southgate said at his squad unveiling.

“It has been a frustrating season for him. Under normal circumstances he wouldn’t be anywhere near the squad but he is a player we have a lot of time for.”

Liverpool colleagues Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold will link up with the squad on Saturday as expected following their Champions League final appearances.

The squad seemed in good spirits as they trained in the grounds of the Grove hotel, with Southgate set to be joined by Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard in a press conference scheduled for 1400BST on Friday.

Most of the media cameras present for the opening section of the training session were trained on Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling.

The 23-year-old has been under intense scrutiny during the past week after it emerged he had a controversial tattoo of a gun on his right leg.

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Raheem Sterling’s controversial tattoo (Nick Potts/PA)

Sterling explained the new ink in an Instagram post, revealing it is a tribute to his late father.

“When I was 2 my father died from being gunned down to death I made a promise to myself I would never touch a gun in my life time, I shoot with my right foot so it has a deeper meaning N still unfinished,” he wrote.

The Football Association has supported Sterling since The Sun’s front page on Tuesday and the player trained in shorts, with the tattoo on display.

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