England defender Gary Cahill got the better of Sportsmail’s Charles Sale in the first ‘Player vs Press’ darts match at their World Cup base in Repino.
A dart board has been installed in the media centre at England’s headquarters near Saint Petersburg and a scoring chart with ‘Players’ and ‘Press’ set up to keep track of the challenge matches.
There has been tension in the past between the England squad and journalists reporting on them, culminating in the Football Association’s bizarre refusal to tell the Press who won a player darts tournament during Euro 2016 in France.
Sportsmail’s Charles Sale takes on England defender Gary Cahill in a darts match at the team’s World Cup base in Repino, near Saint Petersburg
Cahill steps up to the oche in the first ‘Player vs Press’ darts match of the World Cup
Cahill beat Sale in the match as the assembled media watched on at the England media centre
Sports Agenda columnist Sale looks closely at where Cahill’s final dart landed on the board
The Chelsea defender raises his arms in triumph after the final count-up of scores
Cahill raised his arms in triumph after Sports Agenda columnist Sale verified where his final dart had landed and the pair then shook hands.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has taken steps to defuse some of this tension and embrace a more open relationship between the players and those writing about them.
This included a Super Bowl-style media day at St George’s Park prior to England’s departure for Russia at which all 23 members of the England squad were available to interview for an hour.
Jesse Lingard celebrates as some of the England players bowled at the media centre
Kieran Trippier (left), Lingard (middle) and Trent Alexander-Arnold took to the bowling lanes
Manchester United star Lingard enjoyed himself as the England stars bowled on Thursday
The media centre also contains a ten-pin bowling alley, with Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jesse Lingard enjoying a game as the media watched on.
Lingard looked the most impressive at bowling, though several efforts from all participants found their way into the gutter.
Other leisure activities include a pool table, air hockey, table football and a PlayStation with FIFA 18 game.
Southgate is making the final adjustments to his team selection and tactics ahead of England’s World Cup opener against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday evening.
From there, England take on Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on June 24 and Belgium in Kaliningrad on June 28 to complete Group G.