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World Cup 2018: England v Panama, Players to watch out for

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Top 5 / Top 10
375   //    23 Jun 2018, 19:55 IST

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Harry Kane alongside Gareth Southgate

England play their second game of the World Cup when they take on Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Sunday (1 pm kick-off).

Here's a look at some of the players to keep an eye on during the game.

Roman Torres

Many people believe that Torres is the lynchpin of the Panamanian nation team and is key to the Group G minnows getting a result against the English.

The Seattle Sounders center-back is playing in his first World Cup, and it was his winning goal against Costa Rica which secured Panama's place in Russia.

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Roman Torres in action at Panama training. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The 32-year-old has impressive celebrity status in Panama following his Qualification-clinching goal, and one can only imagine what might happen if he scored on the biggest stage of them all.

Los Canaleros are not blessed with the youngest of squads, which means that a clash against Gareth Southgate's side will very much be an example of experience against youthful exuberance.

Whatever the result, expect the Panama captain to provide passion and solidarity at the back, as he aims to keep Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and co at bay.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

With Tottenham star Dele Alli reportedly struggling for fitness ahead of Sunday's clash, expect Ruben Loftus-Cheek to be given a chance, following his impressive loan spell at Crystal Palace last season.

The 22-year-old is undoubtedly one of the brightest talents in the 23-man squad; his composure on the ball is wonderful to see and he is never shy of taking his man on and bringing his team-mates into play.

England - FIFA World Cup 2018 - Media Activity - 21st June
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is all smiles

He is rated very highly, with former England boss Roy Hodgson likening him to Germany legend Michael Ballack. It may be a little too soon to make such comparisons, but the Lewisham-born midfield is something special.

He hasn't really had a chance to introduce himself to fans of the national team, bar one or two cameo appearances. Nevertheless, if given the chance to start in the heart of the England team in their second Group G game, it could very well kickstart what promises to be a prosperous and intriguing career for the national team.

Harry Kane

Unlike many before him, Harry Kane carried the hopes of a nation on his shoulders and emerged after his opening 90 minutes at the World Cup having bagged a brace.

It is a thankless task spearheading the attack, but Kane has been shown the utmost faith by Gareth Southgate, who also selected him as the Three Lions captain.Kane showed the same predatory instincts for England against Tunisia as he did for Tottenham throughout 2017/18.

His stoppage-time goal highlighted his desire to find small pockets of space in and around a tired defence and punish them to great effect. He may well have similar opportunities late on against Panama, a team ranked 55th in the FIFA World Rankings.

With Romelu Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa showing promising form in their opening two games of the competition, maybe now is the time for Kane to do the same and show the world exactly what he is capable of.

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