England 1 Romania 0: Captain Rashford stakes claim for Euro 2020 starting spot with winner but Three Lions underwhelm
MARCUS RASHFORD capped one of the proudest days of his career by grabbing the winner in Gareth Southgate's final Euro2020 warm-up.
Aged 23 years and 218 days, he became the youngest player to start a match as England captain since Michael Owen against Slovakia in June 2003. That match was also at the Riverside Stadium.
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Rashford scored from the spot in the 68th minute after Jack Grealish had been fouled by Tiberiu Capusa. Jordan Henderson, playing his first game in February, then wasted a chance to make it 2-0 by missing a penalty.
Whether Rashford did enough to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s starting XI for the opening match against Croatia next Sunday remains to be seen.
Rashford had played in just two of England’s last 13 games dating back to November 2019 due to his various injury issues
And like his form for Manchester United during the season, he was not always at his sharpest.
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The result here in the north-east was largely irrelevant and the main thing was that England did not pick up any more injuries.
Henderson, sidelined since February with a groin problem, played all 45 minutes of the second half in place of Kalvin Phillips although he will want to forget his miss from the spot.
Three players, Ben White, Ben Godfrey and James Ward-Prowse started the game despite not being in the 26-man squad.
There was a debut for Sam Johnstone although Southgate still named three keepers on the bench.
And you could hardly blame Southgate for resting Harry Kane. Considering the team’s current run of injuries, it was a good job Kane was kept in cotton wool.
Despite Southgate’s appeal, there were plenty of idiots booing when England’s team – and nine Romanian players – took the knee before kick-off.
In a stop-start first half, Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed a free-kick from James Ward-Prowse against the bar while the woodwork also kept out a terrific effort from Jadon Sancho
Keeper Johnstone stuck a foot out to keep out a shot from Sorescu Deian Cristian who was allowed too much room to rome from midfield
And following another sensational free-kick from Ward-Prowse, Ben Godfrey and Calvert Lewin got in each other’s way from a few yards out
Ward-Prowse belted a free-kick straight at Nita and Rashford showed his incredible pace to tear past the visiting defence but he dragged a shot wide.
Yet Rashford never looked like missing when Portuguese referee Tiago Bruno Lopes Martins pointed to the spot and soon after, he was replaced by Jesse Lingard.
England looked ropey at the back and keeper Johnstone produced a stunning save to keep out a shot from Andrei Ivan.
The Three Lions got their second penalty after Calvert-Lewin was fouled by Chiriches but Henderson’s tame penalty was easily read by keeper Nita.
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