England without James Maddison and Kyle Walker for Iran opener as Harry Kane targets Wayne Rooney goal record

England without James Maddison and Kyle Walker for Iran opener as Harry Kane targets Wayne Rooney goal record

England will be without both Kyle Walker and James Maddison for Monday’s opening World Cup match against Iran, Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

Maddison was expected to be out after missing the last three training sessions as he continues to manage a knee injury picked up last weekend while playing for Leicester City.

Walker, however, has been heavily involved in the Three Lions sessions in Qatar but the match comes too soon after groin surgery kept the defender out for the last six weeks.

“In terms of player availability, everyone is available apart from James Maddison,” Southgate said. “It is a little bit early for Kyle Walker although that’s ahead of where we thought he would be at this stage so that’s positive.”

Meanwhile, captain Harry Kane was sat alongside his manager as he prepared to lead out his country for at a second World Cup, and with Wayne Rooney’s all-time goal scoring record for England in his sights.

Kane sits two behind Rooney’s tally of 53, and wants to break the record “as soon as possible.” He said: “I know it’s there and I know people talk about it but I like to just focus on my game and try to do my best for the team.

“I know the team we have will create chances and I just need to be ready for ones that come my way. Obviously I was lucky enough to play with Wayne many times for England and he was a huge player I looked up to growing up and playing for England, watched him in the major tournaments.

“To be close to him is obviously a real honour and for sure, hopefully, I can do it as soon as possible but if it’s not the case, it’s not something I’m going to panic about. I’ll just focus game by game.”

Asked about retaining his golden boot from 2018’s World Cup in Russia, Kane said: “It would be a great thing to achieve. I was able to do it in 2018 and it helped the team to get to a semi-final. I know if I won it again this year it means that hopefully the team is doing pretty well and we’re going pretty far which is the most important thing.

“Of course as a striker I’ll be judged on scoring goals, I know how that works but most importantly it is about giving my best for the team - whether that is scoring, assisting, defending, whatever it may be I’m ready to do what’s necessary to win.

“In terms of players, of course, we’re playing against the best players in the world – the [Cristiano] Ronaldo’s, [Lionel] Messi’s, Neymar’s, the list goes on. We will have to wait and see - I always try not to think about stuff like the Golden Boot.

“For sure, the most important thing is trying to win the World Cup and that’s what my focus is on, that is what the team’s focus is on and we know we’ve got a difficult road ahead, but we’re focused on trying to achieve it.”