Published: Sat, June 09, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Marcus Rashford enjoying 'freedom' of England role after Manchester United frustration

Marcus Rashford enjoying 'freedom' of England role after Manchester United frustration

Marcus Rashford insisted England have the "highest expectations" going into the World Cup after comfortably winning their final warm-up game.

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Manager Gareth Southgate made 10 changes to the team that beat Nigeria 2-1 on Saturday, with John Stones the one player to keep his place, while Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold made his debut at right wing-back.

Dier played the anchoring role at Wembley and Henderson will take over for Thursday's farewell friendly against Costa Rica at Elland Road, but decision time is looming for the Group G opener against Tunisia. The substitutes began coming and one of them, Danny Welbeck, was on hand to dispatch a diving header after Rashford and Dele Alli cut through Costa Rica's defence.

The shot sailed over the keeper's head and struck the net sweetly, with a nonchalant celebration suggesting this was not Rashford's first time. 2014 of course saw the Three Lions eliminated in the group stage, but this year promises a lot more - particularly as England's group looks substantially weaker than it did in Brazil.

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The next time the Three Lions will be in action is for their Russian Federation 2018 opener against Tunisia on Monday 18 June.

After the game, Rashford said he believed "anything's possible" when discussing England's chances of winning the tournament.

With around 20 minutes of the game still to play, Costa Rica brought the 20-year-old defender on as a substitute. However, Navas, fresh off his third consecutive Champions League title with Real Madrid, was completely caught out moments later as Rashford unleashed a powerful drive from 25 yards that dipped perfectly over him and into the top corner for his third worldwide goal.

His Manchester United connections led to a few comedy boos when his name was read out over the PA system, but Rashford won the Leeds faithful over as early as the 13th minute when he gave England the lead in emphatic fashion.

Costa Rica face tournament favorites Brazil as well as Serbia and Switzerland in Group E, and will need to show far more ambition once they get to Russian Federation if they are to replicate their heroics of four years ago.

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