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COUNTDOWN BEGINS

Posted on 28 February 2006  - 12:00

Ledley King says the countdown to the World Cup has now started with England preparing for the warm-up game against Uruguay at Anfield on Wednesday.

Ledley King says the countdown to the World Cup has now started with England preparing for the warm-up game against Uruguay at Anfield on Wednesday.

It is the first gathering of the England squad since the post-qualification victory over Argentina in Geneva late last year and the only one scheduled between now and the end of the season. Further friendlies against Hungary and Jamaica and pencilled in for late May and early June.

"It has been a while and quite a bit has gone on since the last time we met up," said Ledley, who has started the last two England internationals in the midfield holding role. "It is good to get back together, show a bit of team spirit again and enjoy each other's company before, hopefully, going to the World Cup.

"It is not far away now and everyone realises that.

"Now is the time to start preparing and focusing on the World Cup. It should be fun."

While Uruguay will not exactly provide replica opponents to World Cup group rivals Paraguay, Ledley reasons the fixture will offer up a few worthwhile pointers for the opener on June 10.

"I think you can get a feel of what type of opponents you will be up against, but obviously they are two different teams. You can get an idea over the styles of play and culture, what type of tackles you can make or expect to receive. You can maybe pick up a bit," he added before insisting there will be no thoughts or talk among the players over the possible identity of the next England manager while on international duty.

"I think all the talk has probably gone on at the clubs. It is forgotten about now and while Sven is in charge everyone has got 100 per cent faith in him and we wouldn't talk about another manager while we are with England."