Jordan Henderson has welcomed the prospect of a physical battle against Panama, insisting England will not be outmuscled at the World Cup.
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez appeared unhappy with the approach taken by the Central Americans during their Group G meeting, seemingly happy to exit the fixture with three points and no injuries.
Panama captain Roman Torres has already promised his side will look to “mark out (their) territory” against England in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday but Liverpool captain Henderson believes that will be easier said than done.
“We will match them physically,” said Henderson.
“I think the lads will be used to the physical side of things from playing in the Premier League, the games we play each week are usually physical and I think that is something the lads enjoy. Tunisia were quite like that as well, there were quite a lot of fouls in the middle area of the pitch. I am sure Panama will be similar and they will try and make it difficult for us.
“It is another tough test but I think that we have a lot of big lads in the team who will look forward to the physical side of things. We have that side to us and we also have the creative side that you saw the other night.”
Assistant manager Steve Holland has already put England on alert not to go too far in standing their ground, adding: “Keeping 11 players on the pitch is paramount…avoiding and conceding unnecessary fouls.”