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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Pair Handed World Cup Starts

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Ross Barkley and John Lundstram were named in England's starting XI for their Under-20 World Cup opener against Iraq (7pm).

The midfield pair are part of a five-strong Everton contingent in the Three Lions party.

Luke Garbutt, Chris Long and John Stones are also waiting in the wings to feature in the tournament in Turkey.

Earlier this week Barkley said: "We are here to win the tournament. That's the only way we can approach things.

"There are a lot of good teams at the World Cup, but we believe we can go a long way.

"It is a good opportunity for us to show that we have got good players coming up in England."

The 20-year-old midfielder has more Premier League experience than most of his colleagues but admits this tournament is offering its own challenges.

"We have been in Antalya for ten days now and the biggest thing we have had to get used to is the heat," he revealed.

"It was 34 degrees yesterday and though it's cooler when the matches kick-off, it still takes some getting used to."

Sunday's opponents from the gulf may not sound like a fearsome football powerhouse but Barkley remains watchful.

He added: "Iraq have a few players who have already won caps at senior level, so we need to make sure we play as a team," he explained.

"If we do that, we are confident we can get off to a good start."

Watch the game on Eurosport or FIFA.com.

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