England boss Gareth Southgate to attend Confederations Cup - sources

England manager Gareth Southgate will travel to Russia for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June in an effort to boost preparations for next year's World Cup finals, sources have told ESPN FC.

Southgate, who will announce his squad on March 16 for this month's friendly against Germany in Dortmund and the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley, has taken England to the top of their qualification group after replacing Sam Allardyce as manager earlier this season.

Currently unbeaten in European Group F, England are on course to qualify automatically as group winners and both Southgate and the Football Association (FA) are determined to use the Confederations Cup as a valuable fact-finding mission ahead of Russia 2018.

The eight-team tournament, which consists of the champions of each FIFA confederation, plus the hosts and World Cup holders Germany, will be played between June 17-July 2 over four venues -- Moscow, St Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan.

While next year's World Cup will have 11 host cities, FA sources have told ESPN FC that Southgate is keen to assess everything from training facilities, match venues and the logistics of travelling around Russia when he attends the Confederations Cup.

The Football Association was criticised for the Rio de Janeiro location of their training base during the 2014 World Cup, with England not drawn to play any fixtures in the city and one of their group games taking place 1,800 miles away in Manaus.

During Euro 2016, England based themselves in Chantilly, north of Paris, despite once again not having any group games staged in the vicinity of their training camp.

With 1,500 miles separating host cities Kaliningrad and Ekaterinburg from west to east and a similar distance between St Petersburg in the north and Sochi in the south, identifying the right base camp is regarded as crucial ahead next summer's tournament.

England resume their qualification campaign against Lithuania on March 26 before concluding their group fixtures against the same opponents in Vilnius on Oct. 8.