Prince William meets England squad ahead of World Cup
- Author: Angelo Rivera Jun 11, 2018,
Jun 11, 2018, 0:29
England travelled up north to Elland Road, the home of Leeds United, where they played Costa Rica on Thursday.
Southgate made widespread alterations in a bid to test his options and for the most part was rewarded with an encouraging display, with Rashford superbly opening the scoring before Danny Welbeck came off the bench to secure a 2-0 win against underwhelming Costa Rica.
"So, if I look at the three weeks we've had, I couldn't be happier with the preparation: physically, tactically and in the togetherness of the group". He should be told to go and fill his boots and express himself. A new found confidence which Manchester United fans had been craving all season.
And yet here was Rashford, unshackled from Mourinho the disciplinarian, running the show against a team who reached the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago.
Fabian Delph and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added further energy to the team, while Walker adds pace to the backline - pace which will be important in making recovery tackles.
Southgate began his coaching career in less than spectacular fashion during his time at Middlesbrough before coming into his own as head of the England Under-21 team, where his calm and measured style began to take effect. "It's pleasing to know you can rely on him but I don't believe he will necessarily start".
On the opposite flank, Rose, who has had problems both on and off the pitch in the past year, also delivered a good performance and provided a good outlet for his team. But it's a problem a manager would prefer to have.
Despite Southgate's best denials, it is hard not to see this fixture as a direct warm-up for the group game against Panama. The midfielder insists he is ready to get "back to business" for his country but how much did leading his club on such a draining night really take out of his mental reserves? If I was thinking I have no one to play in this position or in that position, it would be a very different situation.
Forward Goncalo Guedes staked his claim for a place in Portugal's starting line-up with two goals in the win over Algeria, who missed out on Russian Federation, at a soggy Stadium of Light in Lisbon. If Alli comes out of the side, that would leave just Jesse Lingard alongside Eric Dier or Jordan Henderson in midfield, something which is unlikely to happen.
It would be a big risk to play Rashford. "That's what Harry Kane does and what, unfortunately, Sterling doesn't do".
"It could potentially be a breakthrough tournament for Rashford", Ferdinand told Goal.com. And Gareth Southgate seems to think so too. He played with a real swagger.
"I'd like to see him up front against Tunisia".
"The goal was world-class but he was teasing defenders by the touchline. His performance wasn't flawless but he was enjoying his football and that was good to see".