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Marcus Rashford states claim for England start against Panama with purposeful cameo

Manchester United

Marcus Rashford states claim for England start against Panama with purposeful cameo

England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time winner ensured England started the tournament with a victory, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of the points in Volgograd.

After failing to capitalise on a plethora of first-half opportunities, a penalty – awarded using VAR – was given to Tunisia, and Ferjani Sassi equalised from the spot, heaping pressure on Gareth Southgate’s outfit deep into the second half.

There were a number of changes made to the squad since the preparation friendly against Costa Rica, with one absentee particularly noticeable in long-spells throughout the game, in the form of Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

Photo: Getty Images

Following a sensational long-range goal in the previous game, the 20-year-old was left out of the starting line-up, and it can be argued that the side missed both his clinical edge in the first-half and his direct running for large periods of the second.

The latter is pretty indisputable as his late cameo – 22 minutes from time – was full of the directness and purpose that England were missing in the quest for a second goal.

And England fans have taken to Twitter to demand that Rashford be picked to start in the next clash, against Panama on Sunday:

There seems to be a consensus among England supporters that Rashford should be considered a starter over his city rival Raheem Sterling, in the free centre-forward role behind captain Harry Kane, as the Manchester City man failed to really impact the game, bar a promising opening 20 minutes.

Despite the jubilant end to the game, the warning signs are there and adjustments will have to be made to ensure success in future games against teams operating at the highest level.

The star-studded Belgium squad are in red-hot form at the moment, and Southgate has some tinkering to do to before the Three Lions are ready for the step-up in opposition.

Jamie Watts

Sports journalist based in London. Previously of HITC and 90min.

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