Marcus Rashford became England’s youngest ever goal scorer on debut as Roy Hodgson’s men followed up Sunday’s victory over Turkey with another 2-1 victory over Australia. Wayne Rooney netted early in the second half before Eric Dier headed into his own goal.
Rashford, starting ahead of the injured Daniel Sturridge, was on the scoresheet in only the third minute when he planted an assured volley past Matthew Ryan from Raheem Sterling’s deflected cross.
Fellow Manchester United striker Rooney looked to have put the game beyond reach of the Socceroos when he smashed home his 52nd goal for England from Raheem Sterling’s crossfield pass. Bizarrely, it was his first ever as an England substitute. Dier gave the Australian fans hope when he headed Milos Degenek’s unthreatening cross past Fraser Forster but Roy Hodgson's men held on.
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England face Portugal in their final friendly before France 2016 on Thursday but another disjointed performance will raise more questions than answers. They have now gone four games without a clean sheet for the first time since August 2013.
Rashford’s goal also gives manager Hodgson a striker headache as he has to cut three further players from his squad and the United man was initially an outsider to make the final 23. But with Daniel Sturridge not in the matchday squad, the onus is perhaps now on him to prove his fitness before the deadline on May 31.
Has Rashford cemented a place on the plane to France? His figures this season certainly speak for themselves and he is now running high on confidence. It depends on the fitness of Daniel Sturridge, but surely better to take an extra striker instead of an underperforming midfielder, with Fabian Delph almost certainly out and others struggling for form.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marcus Rashford (England). A close call between the young man and the excellent John Stones. But the nod goes to Rashford, not only for his assured finish on debut, but his superb link-up play.
ENGLAND: Forster 6, Clyne 6, Bertrand 7, Henderson 6, Smalling 6, Stones 7, Wilshere 5, Drinkwater 6, Rashford 8, Sterling 7, Lallana 6. SUBS: Heaton 6, Milner 6, Dier 5, Townsend 7, Rooney 7, Barkley 6.
AUSTRALIA: Ryan 6, Smith 6, Milligan 6, Wright 6, Risdon 7, Jedinak 6, Luongo 6, Mooy 7, Rogic 7, Kruse 7, Maclaren 6. SUBS: Juric 6, Ikonomidis 6, McKay 6, Goodwin 6, Degenek 7, Irvine 6.
3’ – GOAL! England 1-0 Australia: Marcus Rashford makes history, becoming England’s youngest ever goalscorer on debut at 18 years and 208 days. The Manchester United striker plants a cool volley past Matthew Ryan from Raheem Sterling’s deflected cross.
30’ – SAVE! It’s Matthew Ryan to the rescue for Australia, smothering Lallana’s shot from Rashford’s neat ball.
41’ – SAVE! Another decent stop from the Aussie keeper, tipping Jordan Henderson’s effort over the bar.
55’ – GOAL! England 2-0 Australia: An emphatic finish from Rooney, smashing home his 52nd England goal from Sterling’s crossfield ball.
Wayne Rooney scores the second goal for England
Image credit: Reuters
61’ – CHANCE! Rashford crosses to Rooney, who clips his shot wide.
75’ – GOAL! England 2-1 Australia: A calamity from Eric Dier, who heads Degenek’s cross past Forster under absolutely no pressure.
Marcus Rashford becomes England’s youngest ever goalscorer on debut at 18 years and 208 days.
Wayne Rooney scores his 52nd goal for England and his first as a substitute.
England and Australia have now both won a match apiece in their only two meetings.
England have now gone four games without a clean sheet for the first time since August 2013.
MATCH IN A TWEET
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England - Australia