90min Meet the England Squad

10 June, 2018, 12:35 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Our World Cup countdown continues as we look at the 2014 quarter-finalists                                       Our World Cup countdown continues as we look at the 2014 quarter

While it might be wiser for England supporters to rein in their optimism before the World Cup actually starts, there appears to be grounds for positivity.

The Duke of Cambridge spent time chatting with Southgate and several members of his squad, while he also handed Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold his first England shirt for the Costa Rica game.

Southgate seems to have settled on the 352 formation including Jesse Lingard in the midfield. 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.

Marcus Rashford in action on Thursday evening.

Five Yorkshire-born players featured in England's 2-0 win against Costa Rica at Elland Road. "Even though Rashford is younger, he's more consistent".

Knowing Vardy would stick rigidly to his position up front, Rashford was free to roam, popping up regularly on both flanks in a bid to terrorise all three members of the visiting defence. A new found confidence which Manchester United fans had been craving all season.

"I thought his linking was good, his individuality and running at people and taking people on in and around the penalty area was good, and of course it was a wonderful strike for the goal".

Dele Alli didn't quite match his stellar Spurs form from 2016/17, scoring nine Premier League goals compared to 18 a season earlier, so talk has turned to Lingard displacing his Premier League rival in England's XI. Gareth Southgate's a sensible guy.

In England's last match before their tournament opener against Tunisia in 11 days time, Manchester United's Rashford was the star of a much-changed side.

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"I don't judge players on whether they're in the best WSL teams". But it's a problem a manager would prefer to have.

And given England's World Cup routes, whether winning or coming second in group G sees them likely to face either Brazil or Germany in the quarter-finals (should they get that far and both teams win their groups as expected) this will be something Southgate needs to work on in the final days before they travel to Russian Federation.

"It's more hard, no question".

As for United, they already have Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial going forward and Mourinho is expected to sign another attacking player this summer.

Who could Rashford replace?

Rashford's eighth-minute dribble past Waston was a thing of wonder; its true majesty only revealed by replays. He has not partnered Harry Kane in the 352 formation yet.

"It's how you learn from it and how you stand up and react afterward". Sterling was disappointing in the previous England friendly, against Nigeria, and he's under-performed for England in the last four years. "If it's complicated it [selection], it's in a really good way", said a coy Southgate.

"You can see that a lot of the lads are confident".

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