Rashford shines as England cruise past Costa Rica


A nice problem to have, says Max Liu, as he discusses the big questions in attack and defence.

Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck - who is heading to Russian Federation as the squad's highest goalscorer - netted either side of half time during the Three Lions' 2-0 victory over Costa Rica at Elland Road on Thursday evening to round off a pleasing pre-tournament spell.

Rashford's effervescent display gave his chances of starting England's Group G opener against Tunisia, in Volgograd on Monday 18 June, no harm whatsoever, but he is keeping his feet on the ground and acknowledged there is plenty of competition to be in the starting line-up at the tournament. 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.

Southgate rang the changes after the hour mark as Dele Alli, Danny Welbeck, Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope were introduced for the home side.

Despite that, his England dream wasn't dashed until after the Three Lions' final warmup against Costa Rica on Thursday, when manager Gareth Southgate told him and Tom Heaton they would no longer be consider should the team suffer a costly injury.

However, former United forward Welbeck - now playing for Premier League rival Arsenal - believes Rashford is benefiting from freedom with the national team.

Over the course of last season, Mourinho opted to play Romelu Lukaku as his only striker.

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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.

Jamie Vardy was denied by a flying Navas from point-blank range as England pressed their advantage, although Jack Butland made a good save to deny Johan Venegas after a rare Costa Rica break. Rashford, meanwhile, always looks fearless on worldwide duty and his pace, never mind the thunderous shooting ability he showed against Costa Rica, will trouble opposing defender.

He added: "I think he could be huge for England at the tournament".

"He had a hard end to the season having to play on his own as a number nine at times".

Southgate's side honed their skills at a sold-out Elland Road on Thursday evening as they followed the win against Nigeria by beating Costa Rica in a manner more stirring than the 2-0 scoreline suggests.

Then there's Alexander-Arnold who made his debut against Costa Rica but played with confidence of a man with 30 caps.