Belfast Telegraph

Rampant Rashford gives Hodgson a headache

England 2-1 Australia

By Simon Peach

Marcus Rashford's extraordinary rise shows no sign of abating, with the teenager's volley on his England debut helping to down Australia and boost his Euro 2016 chances.

There are fairytale ascents and then there is an 18-year-old breaking into the first team at Manchester United, winning the FA Cup and becoming the Three Lions' youngest goalscoring debutant in the space of 92 days.

Rashford has flourished since being thrust into the spotlight in late February and opened his England account in style, capitalising on Daniel Sturridge's absence as Roy Hodgson's side defeated Asian champions Australia 2-1 in Sunderland.

Wayne Rooney scored England's second goal 10 minutes after he came on as a half-time substitute and another England sub was also on the scoresheet, only this time Eric Dier headed the ball into his own net as Australia narrowed the arrears.

Hodgson was coy when questioned on his potential 23-man squad, but the England boss did hint that Rashford had more than staked his claim.

"It's fantastic. He did well and I'm pleased for him," said Hodgson.

"He obviously tired a bit in the second half, but that's pretty normal when you're playing your first game.

"I was asked before the game whether he would be capable of dealing with the situation and I think we got a resounding 'yes' to that question."

When asked whether the Manchester United striker had booked his place in France, Hodgson added: "Let's wait and see. I've got until Tuesday.

"He certainly wouldn't be out of place in anyone's 23. I've got some difficult decisions to make."

Rashford could take the place of Sturridge when the final reckoning comes on Tuesday, with the Liverpool striker still struggling with a calf strain.

Hodgson, though, is hoping the 26-year-old is back training before he whittles the squad down.

Hodgson said: "It will be interesting to see how he goes over the weekend. "I would hope he trains on Monday, if that's the case then the calf injury won't be a reason for me to leave him out of the squad and he will join the rest of the pool."

England: Forster (Heaton 87), Clyne, Smalling (Dier 73), Stones, Bertrand, Wilshere (Milner 46), Drinkwater, Henderson, Sterling (Townsend 76), Rashford (Barkley 63), Lallana (Rooney 46). Subs Not Used: Walker, Kane, Alli, Rose, Hart.

Goals: Rashford 3, Rooney 55.

Australia: Ryan, Risdon (Degenek 74), Wright, Milligan, Smith, Jedinak, Mooy (Goodwin 84), Luongo (Oikonomidis 58), Rogic (Juric 73), Kruse (Irvine 84), Maclaren (McKay 58). Subs Not Used: Birighitti, Behich, Inman, Mauk, Wilkinson, Federici.

Booked: Mooy.

Goals: Dier 75 og.

Attendance: 46,595

Referee: Danny Makkelie (Holland)

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