Friday 19 January 2018

Rashford enjoys dream debut

England 2 Australia 1

England's Marcus Rashford applauds fans as he is substituted off for Ross Barkley.
Photo: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters
England's Marcus Rashford applauds fans as he is substituted off for Ross Barkley. Photo: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters
Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring the second goal for England with Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson. Photo: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters
England's Danny Drinkwater in action with Australia's Tomas Rogic. Photo: Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters

Mark Ogden

Marcus Rashford may need to be measured up for a new suit today to ensure he is correctly turned out for England's flight to France next month.

After emerging from obscurity at Manchester United and proceeding to score less than three minutes into his England debut against Australia at the Stadium of Light in the space of just three months, the 18-year-old can start to turn his attentions to Euro 2016 because, after a performance like this, it will be impossible for Roy Hodgson to leave him out.

Daniel Sturridge, injured again, is likely to be the unlucky man to miss out in favour of Rashford, but there would now be a public outcry if the prodigious teenager did not make the squad for France.

Rashford's goals are one thing, but his pace and awareness are also impressive qualities and he is the man - or boy - of the moment.

He even helped start the move for Wayne Rooney's goal in the second half - which proved the decisive goal in the victory - before almost teeing up a second for his United team-mate, to give Jose Mourinho as much encouragement as Hodgson on the day the Portuguese was confirmed as manager at Old Trafford.

But France will come before life under the Special One for Rashford and who knows what he will achieve at Euro 2016 before he returns to Manchester.

Rashford was making his senior England debut just 92 days after scoring with his first shot on his United debut, against FC Midtjylland, in the Europa League in February. It has been a remarkable rise to prominence.

The finish was cool and clinical enough - a crisp half-volley from Raheem Sterling's deflected pass - but Rashford's contribution in the build-up also highlighted the awareness that has accompanied the eight goals in 18 appearances he delivered for United this season.

At the other end, Eric Dier reduced the arrears for Australia by heading Milos Degenek's cross into his own net on 75 minutes.

It was a bad one for the Tottenham midfielder, but thanks to Rashford, not the most memorable moment of the night. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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