In Brief

England 1 Switzerland 0: Marcus Rashford will be a ‘top player’ says Gareth Southgate

Man Utd striker scores the winner as England recover from ‘embarrassing’ first-half display in Leicester

England 1 Switzerland 0

England have avoided a fourth successive defeat with a 1-0 win over Switzerland at the King Power Stadium last night, but Marcus Rashford’s goal was one of the few highlights of a forgettable occasion.

The excitement of the Three Lions’ run to the World Cup semi-finals was a distant memory in a friendly match that allowed England to at least put behind them defeats to Croatia, Belgium and Spain.

Gareth Southgate made nine changes to the starting XI that lost 2-1 to the Spanish on Saturday, with only Harry Maguire and Rashford retained.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the upheaval resulted in what Danny Rose described as an “embarrassing” first-half display, as the players struggled to find their rhythm.

Rashford on target

Switzerland were the superior side before the break, and Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri should have given them an early lead but his effort rattled the post.

“We could have been two or three-nil down at half-time,” admitted Rose, who was man of the match. “It’s great we can all shout at each other and tell each other to improve like we did.”

The home truths exchanged in the dressing room at half-time resulted in a far sharper England performance in the second-half. The winner came on 54 minutes when Rashford, who scored England’s goal against Spain, arrived at the far post to turn in Kyle Walker’s cross.

Exciting talent

The 20-year-old’s two goals will put pressure on the injured Raheem Sterling, who was preferred by Southgate in the World Cup starting line-up but is without an international goal in 26 matches.

“I’m really pleased for him,” said Southgate, when asked about the performance of Rashford. “We know how exciting he is and we know he is going to be a top player, he’s got a super mentality and he’s great to work with.”

A tall order

If the match confirmed what Southgate knows about Rashford, it also showed the England manager that there is clear daylight in the pecking order between Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland.

The latter kept a clean sheet against the Swiss but lacked the assurance of Pickford. The Everton keeper seems certain to come back for England’s next game, against Croatia on 12 October in the Uefa Nations League.

Overall, however, Southgate said he was pleased with a victory obtained in difficult circumstances. “So many of the lads were playing their first 45 minutes of the season,” he said. “It was a tall order to ask them to go in and play against a really good side in Switzerland, who are an excellent team.”

England’s 2018 fixtures

  • 12 October: Uefa Nations League vs. Croatia (Stadion HNK Rijeka, Rijeka; 7.45pm) 
  • 15 October: Uefa Nations League vs. Spain (Estadio Benito de Villamarin, Sevilla; 7.45pm) 
  • 15 November: friendly vs. United States (Wembley, London; 8pm) 
  • 18 November: Uefa Nations League vs. Croatia (Wembley, London; 2pm)

Recommended

Ryder Cup: the history and drama of golf’s biggest event
Ryder Cup
In Depth

Ryder Cup: the history and drama of golf’s biggest event

Doping in sport: should cannabis be on the list of banned substances?
US sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson missed the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for cannabis
In Focus

Doping in sport: should cannabis be on the list of banned substances?

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s two superstars compare
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s two superstars compare

A World Cup every two years - for football and rugby union?
Football’s Fifa World Cup and rugby union’s Webb Ellis Cup trophies
Pros and cons

A World Cup every two years - for football and rugby union?

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

World’s most extreme weather events in 2021

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives
Kenneth Feinberg at a Congressional hearing
Profile

The man tasked with putting a price on 9/11’s lost lives

The Week Footer Banner