Bertrand blames Southgate 'oversight' for England World Cup squad omission

Grant SmithJun 10, 2018

Tasked with leading the line Rashford, partner-in-crime Jamie Vardy was almost in for a second but was well thwarted by Navas.

Despite England's dominance Vardy had just one half-chance, in the first half, when the ball took an age to come down after bouncing to him in front of goal and Costa Rica goalkeeper Navas bravely smothered the Leicester striker's shot.

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.

England's victory in Leeds followed Saturday's 2-1 win over Nigeria but perhaps more importantly, Southgate's squad appear to have avoided picking up any injuries as they prepare to fly to Russian Federation. "Sometimes I think: 'They're never going to go for this.' They're at times painstakingly putting up with some of the things I throw their way so that, I think, would be more hard with older players".

The 20-year-old has not been able to flourish like this since he first broke into the United team, ironically under Louis van Gaal.

Immediately after the match there were calls for Rashford to start against Tunisia and, at 5/2 on Betfair to make the 11, he looks like value.

"If I was sitting here thinking "blimey, we have got nobody to play there and nobody to play there" then it would be a very different situation". Rashford caught the eye from the off with a sublime piece of skill down the left that forced a corner from which his United team-mate Phil Jones saw a looping header turned onto the bar by Keylor Navas. With Jesse Lingard looking a nailed-on starter, the person who Rashford could replace would be Raheem Sterling or Dele Alli.

Southgate claims he is still to decide on "two or three" of the starting places in the side that will face Tunisia, and Henderson's head-to-head battle with fellow defensive midfielder Eric Dier is one of the issues that is still to be resolved.

There have been suggestions that Rashford could seek a move this summer in order to get extra minutes and avoid stalling his development as a player.

Harry Kane is the first name on the team sheet. And Gareth Southgate seems to think so too.

Despite scoring a second against Costa Rica after the break, England let their opponents back into the game on Thursday night and a better team would have undoubtedly punished them more. They are going to make errors, but they might also show the glimpses like Marcus's goal. Whether that damages his hopes of a starting berth remains to be seen, especially given how superbly the former attacking midfielder has performed for Manchester United.

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