Southgate impressed with Rashford's 'swagger'

Posted June 08, 2018

Costa Rica will look to turn their fortunes around after winning just two of their last eight matches, but took a step in the right direction with a 3-0 thumping of Northern Ireland in a friendly match of their own on Sunday.

A general view of Elland Road Stadium which will host England and Costa Rica on Thursday night.

The friendly was played just 11 days before the Three Lions' opening World Cup match in Russian Federation against Tunisia.

Firstly Henderson's great pass from deep opened a chance for England, with the Reds skipper latching onto the end of the move and smashing in a shot which Navas saved. That's what's best for the England national team and us as individuals.

Substitute Danny Welbeck stooped to head in a Dele Alli cross.

Marcus Rashford insisted England have the "highest expectations" going into the World Cup after comfortably winning their final warm-up game.

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There's certainly an argument to be made in that regard with the Portuguese manager increasingly becoming frustrated with Rashford's inability to play the striker role that is needed for his tactics.

Navas was Costa Rica's hero of an incredible run to the World Cup quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil, helping to knock England out of the group stages on the way. There is genuine competition for places. "If I was thinking I have no one to play in this position or in that position, it would be a very different situation".

His value will come later in the tournament as England face up against the bigger teams, should they get that far, looking to exploit on the counter with the Three Lions' backs against the wall.

The game seemed set to finish at 1-0 until Welbeck made the most of his first clear opportunity since coming on, stretching to nod in Alli's clever cross from the left for his 16th England goal, potentially giving Southgate more positive selection headaches ahead of the Tunisia clash in Volgograd.

The start of the 2018 World Cup is now a week away, with the Three Lions hoping to improve on some dismal recent major tournament performances.

And in goal, Navas, a Champions League victor just 12 days ago, was beaten by a Rashford shot he really should have done better with. Should Alexander-Arnold impress against Costa Rica, Kieran Trippier could lose his place.