England cruise past Costa Rica

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

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

"Rashford played with a real swagger tonight". We finished the season and it was straight into the Euros and I think we suffered because of that.

"But I think we will only want to play with one "pivot".

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Southgate said: "Marcus is desperate to do well and we said to him and all the players we were expecting mistakes to be made. His communication with the players is one of his greatest strengths - he never messes you around, so you know where you stand and that's been the case since he called me to say I wouldn't be in the 23".

While Ruben Loftus-Cheek offered a reminder of his strength on the ball and Henderson delivered good service for the strikers with well-weighted balls from midfield, it was Rashford who made the strongest impression - and not only for his brilliant goal.

Costa Rica only conceded two goals in five matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and were denied a semi-final spot as the Netherlands beat them on penalties, but last night the movement of Rashford asked serious questions of a team who adopt a safety-first approach.

"He is part of our team and part of our family for the next few months so we intend to protect and support our players", Southgate said in a recent interview.

With Gareth Southgate at the helm - a manager who has matured into a serious global head coach - there is a real belief among the current top players, coupled with a growing maturity and desire to do well.

"We have all said from day one that with the ability in this squad, we are capable of beating any other team at the World Cup on our day". Whisper it, but there is a sense of happiness around the national team that has been conspicuously absent under previous regimes.

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. On 89 minutes he still had enthusiasm to drive into the box.

"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. You wouldn't want to play against him and Kane".

"But they've got to take these breaks as well because the energy levels needed for a tournament are very high".

We've a sneaking suspicion this won't go down too well with Manchester United supporters.

Marcus Rashford sent a sold-out Elland Road wild with an outstanding opener that substitute Danny Welbeck added to in a victory more comfortable than the 2-0 scoreline suggested.

"It is up to the manager to decide who is in the best XI for the first game and then for the games after that but I have felt in good form for a long time".

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