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'Family comes first': Southgate backs Delph's decision to miss World Cup match for birth of child

Fabian Delph has Gareth Southgate's full support to be at the birth of his child rather than England's crunch World Cup clash with Colombia - although the midfielder could yet make it back to Russia.

All eyes will be on the Spartak Stadium in Moscow this evening as the Three Lions attempt to win their first knockout match since 2006.

England approach the match fresh and injury-free, but their 23-man squad could well be a player light as Delph flew back to the UK straight after starting last Thursday's defeat to Belgium.

The Manchester City midfielder's wife Natalie is expecting their third child and Southgate is fully behind his family first mindset, although the player has not given up on making the last-16 clash given his attempts to bring on labour.

Fabian Delph Credit: David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images

"The thought process is that some things in life are more important than football," the England manager said. "His wife is due to go into labour.

"I've said all along to the players that this is a big tournament, but family is more important.

"I think it's very important at times like this, that players who are family-orientated are supported by us.

"He has been exceptional. I mean, we've been so fortunate to have a squad of players whose character and spirit has formed an incredible bond.

"We've been away and he has been fundamental to that. I can't speak highly enough of his character around the group.

"So he's desperate to support us but also I think his focus needs be with his family at this time and he has my full support on that.

"He might be with us. He's buying his wife curries and all sorts of things to try and aid the speed of process.

"But, for me, I think again it's a bit of perspective in life because everybody says you only get one chance to be in a World Cup, but also there's only one day in your life when your children are born.

"I know my father's generation and those before them would view that differently, but you have got to be there for your family and that's very important."


Over £6,000 raised for IoM TT rider in critical care at Aintree Hospital

Steve Mercer was competing in this year's practices for the TT Races Credit:

Over £6,000 has been raised for a motorcycle racer to aid his recovery at a hospital in Liverpool.

Steve Mercer, from Kent, sustained multiple injuries after crashing during the Isle of Man's practices for the Tourist Trophy motorcycle races.

He suffered injuries to his larynx and pelvis, ankle and heel, his back and a brain injury - the extent of which remains unclear.

Steve was flown to Aintree Hospital in Liverpool and remains in critical care, with an investigation into how the accident happened ongoing.

Caroline Mercer set up the page to support Steve's recovery, saying that she hopes "to give him everything I can that he needs to aid his recovery or make him more comfortable."

The fundraising page can be found here.


Arise Sir Kenny - Liverpool Legend is honoured by Queen

Liverpool football great Kenny Dalglish and Cheshire paralympian Menna Fitzpatrick are among those being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

But there's criticism over the awarding of a CBE to the Network Rail boss Mark Carne after weeks of disruption for passengers.

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