Russia training report: Slutsky faces problems ahead of England game

Russia's pre-tournament preparation has been hampered by injuries to key squad members.

Russia training report: Slutsky faces problems ahead of England game
Russia coach Leonid Slutsky. Photo source: The Guardian

Russia didn't have the best of times in their pre-tournament friendlies, so will have been hoping for a good week of training to set them up for their opening group game against England on Saturday.

That wasn't to be the case though, as key members of Leonid Slutsky's squad picked up injuries and minor knocks during the training sessions in the lead up to their Euro 2016 campaign getting underway.

Denisov blow

The first major blow came a while ago, when Russia's star man, Alan Dzagoev was forced to miss the tournament after he broke his metatarsal in CSKA Moscow's final league game. However, he wouldn't be the last high profile player to be ruled out. 

Igor Denisov suffered a hamstring injury this week whilst playing against Serbia and has had to be withdrawn from the Russian squad. He is one of six notable absentees, with Yuri Zhirkov, Denis Cheryshev, Oleg Kuzmin, Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Dzagoev all expected to have been involved in France this summer before suffering injuries.

Denisov has been replaced by Zenit St. Petersburg's Artur Yusupov, but it is a big blow for Russia to lose yet another midfielder. Yusupov was on holiday when he got the call about the injury, however he was conveniently staying in the same hotel as the Russian squad at the time. 

Minor injuries

Things went from bad to worse on the injury front, with three squad members only able to take part in light training as the countdown to Euro 2016 gets closer.

Dmitri Torbinski wasn't training with the side this week, which has hampered Slutsky's ability to organise his midfield in the run up to the first match. Denis Glushakov and Vasili Berezutski were also made to undertake extra fitness sessions away from the rest of the team, and Slutsky will be hoping all three players are able to play a part over the next few weeks. 

Poor preparation

As previously mentioned, it hasn't just been Russia's training that has let them down. The last two friendlies Russia have taken part in have ended winless. Late goals from Tomas Necid and Aleksandar Mitrovic for Czech Republic and Serbia respectively have left Russia's preparation in ruins. 

England, on the other hand, have won their friendlies and go into the tournament on a high ahead of the teams meeting in Marseille on Saturday.