Welbeck: Southgate wants England to express themselves


A nice problem to have, says Max Liu, as he discusses the big questions in attack and defence.

Berne: England and Portugal enjoyed comfortable home wins in their final World Cup warm-up matches on Thursday, beating Costa Rica 2-0 and Algeria 3-0 respectively.

Costa Rica: Navas, Waston, Gonzalez, Calvo, Gamboa (Smith 71), Guzman (Tejeda 69), Borges, Oviedo (Matarrita 60), Venegas (Bolanos 60), Campbell, Urena.

Dele Alli didn't quite match his stellar Spurs form from 2016/17, scoring nine Premier League goals compared to 18 a season earlier, so talk has turned to Lingard displacing his Premier League rival in England's XI. "He played with a real swagger tonight", Southgate added.

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.

It was an absolute screamer.

To prove the point, Sterling hasn't scored in his last 20 games for England, stretching back to 2015. If so, it's bringing out the best in him. Rashford made the most of the absence of England captain Harry Kane as he started up front alongside Jamie Vardy, and showed what he is capable of with a fiercely struck shot from 25 yards that dipped perfectly into the top corner. It was his goal, however, that will make his claims for a starting place harder to ignore for Southgate.

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'You work on them [goals] in training every day and when one comes up in a game it's a reward, ' said Rashford.

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.

These two teams played out a goalless draw in their final group game at the World Cup in 2014, where Costa Rica went on to reach the quarter-finals, but Rashford made sure there would be no repeat of that result with a stunning goal 13 minutes in - his first for England since last September. Arguably, they give England more balance and dynamism than Ashley Young and Kieran Trippier who were expected to start ahead of them.

Bertrand played 40 times for Saints this season, whereas Rose featured just 17 times for Tottenham.

Southgate's side honed their skills at a sold-out Elland Road on Thursday evening as they followed the win against Nigeria by beating Costa Rica in a manner more stirring than the 2-0 scoreline suggests.

The Manchester United forward was among 10 alterations to the starting line-up, with Trent Alexander-Arnold holding his own on his Three Lions debut and Fabian Delph impressing on his first England start since November 2015.