England will have just one match to get used to the new World Cup ball before tournament begins this summer.
The Football Association’s lucrative sponsorship deal with Nike means the Three Lions are unable to get accustomed to the Adidas Telstar model until their final warm-up match.
That means Gareth Southgate’s side potentially risk being at a disadvantage to some of their rivals at Russia 2018 who are already using the ball in friendly matches.
Germany and Spain have already been using the new ball in their fixtures over the international break.
But when England faced Italy at Wembley last night they still used the Nike Ordem V ball that is currently in use in the Premier League.
It is the last match Southgate has before he names his squad to take to the World Cup – and the Nike ball will also be used in the friendly against Nigeria on June 2.
That is because the terms of the £34million-a-year deal with Nike means they have to use their balls as well as wear their kit.
The American sportswear firm have given permission for the Telstar to be used in the final warm-up game before the tournament begins – the clash with Costa Rica at Elland Road on June 7.
But that will be the only chance the England squad have to get used to how the ball plays in match action before their World Cup challenge begins.
When they played Holland last week, because they also have a deal with Nike it meant the Adidas ball was not allowed to be used.
However, Nike backed Portugal did use the World Cup ball when they were beaten 3-0 by the Dutch on Monday night.
Because Nike have invested so much money over their 12-year deal with the FA, it has meant they are looking to get maximum exposure from their partnership.
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That means even training sessions when television cameras and photographers are there, the squad have to use the Nike balls.
But it is understood when the press is not in attendance, the squad have been spending time getting used to the flight of the new model.
The main concern with any new ball launch is with goalkeepers, who have in the past found some balls move and swerve more than others.