Sports

Gareth Southgate faces up to 'difficult' England decisions

Gareth Southgate faces up to 'difficult' England decisions

GARETH SOUTHGATE, England manager, on how it will be tough for him to pick his starting line-up for the World Cup opener against Tunisia on June 18.

And for the first time since May 2016, an England home game had an atmosphere! "It's something I've always wanted to do: wear the number 10 for England".

Rashford could be going head to head with Raheem Sterling and Sharpe would like to see the Three Lions boss place his trust in the 20-year-old, who he believes is primed to flourish on the global stage. "You work on them (goals) in training every day and when one comes up in a game it's a reward", Rashford told ITV.

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Danny Rose and debutant Trent Alexander-Arnold shone in the wing-back roles, utility man Fabian Delph was a tireless presence in midfield and, while starved of saves to make, Jack Butland was a composed presence in goal. But R & R (Rashford and Ruben) could work well as a plan B for some tricky situations the Three Lions are bound to find themselves in in Russian Federation. The team were preparing for their warm-up match against Costa Rica later that evening in Leeds which they ended up winning 2-0, meaning that they head to Russian Federation having won both of their warm-up games. That's what's best for the England national team and us as individuals. It wasn't the first team versus Nigeria (2-1 win) and a second team tonight. It was his goal, however, that will make his claims for a starting place harder to ignore for Southgate. Fancy flicks, impish through-balls and drawing fouls everywhere he went; this was a virtuoso first-half performance that seasoned veterans dream of, albeit one spattered with the odd wrong decision that can be put down to immaturity.

In 2014, Costa Rica practically shocked the world as they topped their World Cup group ahead of Uruguay, Italy and Thursday night's opponents England.

But against Costa Rica, Rashford looked relaxed and confident on the ball, utilising his electric pace in the right moments but also toying with defenders as he stood on the ball out wide.

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"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". Navas may have enjoyed his clash with English opposition in the Champions League football but this was a different story!

But since then, successive England teams have struggled to live up to sometimes unrealistic expectations, failing to win at the World Cup and the European Championships.

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