Friday 23 March 2018

'Nobody is surprised anymore'- Man United teammate hails Marcus Rashford for goal-scoring England debut

Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring the first goal for England. Action Images via Reuters / Ed Sykes.
Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring the first goal for England. Action Images via Reuters / Ed Sykes.

Simon Peach

Marcus Rashford collected the man-of-the-match award after netting 138 seconds into a dream international debut, delighting his England team-mates but not surprising them.

There have been fairytale rises but few can compete with an 18-year-old breaking into the Manchester United first team, winning the FA Cup and becoming the Three Lions' youngest goalscoring debutant in the space of 92 days.

Rashford has now netted nine goals in 19 appearances for club and country, with his fine display in Friday's 2-1 against Australia earning a standing ovation and perhaps a place in the final Euro 2016 squad.

It was quite the international audition by the 10th youngest player in England's history, and one that delighted his team-mates.

"I was so happy for him," Chris Smalling, stand-in England captain and fellow United player, said.

"I think nobody is surprised at him any more (given) the fact he has hit the ground running with obviously United and (Friday night). I think a lot of the lads have been very impressed with him in training because he has been that threat and his finishing has been quality.

"I don't think any of us were surprised and it's great to see him just keep kicking on from each stage he has been doing this season."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has twice come up against Rashford at club level and, having seen him at close quarters with England, is excited by the teenager's potential.

"He has been brilliant for United all season and coming in here, (he has had) no fear," he said. "I don't know how long it was but it was early that he gets his first goal for England.

"I am over the moon for him and hopefully that can be the start of something special for him."

John Stones has no doubt that Rashford "deserves to be here" with Roy Hodgson's men and kept his pre-match advice to him short and sweet.

"I was so happy for him," the England and Everton defender said.

"I just said to the other guys there that for such a young lad to score on his debut, he took it so well. He has just been so calm and cool about it in the changing room, which for such a young lad it's hard to get your head around. We're all over the moon for him."

Press Association

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