Southgate's selection dilemmas heading into World Cup

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Marcus Rashford has enjoyed the best last six months in a Man United shirt but he has looked at home on the global stage since day one, and judging by his performance against Costa Rica he could be ready to the the World Cup by storm.

And for the first time since May 2016, an England home game had an atmosphere!

Southgate has provided a fresh outlook, with England's players encouraged to mix with the press and speak openly about their hopes and fears.

Man-of-the-match Rashford shone brightest in Thursday's audition, scoring an exceptional opener and playing with confidence at a buoyant Elland Road.

Asserting that England has no chance of winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup, legendary striker Gary Linekar said that current coach Gareth Southgate should give youngsters a chance to gain experience for future tournaments. In the past, England players have maybe had the comfort of knowing what the next squad is going to be before it's announced but I'd like there to be more uncertainty. "(Fabian) Delph as a number eight is different from Dele (Alli) as a number eight". But R & R (Rashford and Ruben) could work well as a plan B for some tricky situations the Three Lions are bound to find themselves in in Russian Federation.


Though perhaps a better problem to have than others experienced by England managers in recent years, the performance presents something of a quandary for Southgate, posing the hard question: should Rashford start over Manchester City's Raheem Sterling?

Marcus Rashford got his chance to shine on the worldwide stage just a week out from the World Cup, as England took on Costa Rica at Elland Road on Thursday evening, and boy did he deliver.

He shot to fame as part of a free-flowing Liverpool side that just missed out on a first league title for over two decades in 2013/14 to force his way into England's World Cup team four years ago, and was one of few bright sparks in a group stage exit. Costa Rica plays Serbia in Group E the previous day. Now England are 12, having gone up a place, Tunisia are down to 21, Panama are 55and Belgium third in the world.

His value will come later in the tournament as England face up against the bigger teams, should they get that far, looking to exploit on the counter with the Three Lions' backs against the wall. "It's important I switch off", he said.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is another exciting midfield option, sparkling in the first half against Costa Rica as he underlined his undoubted potential. "You have got to take that into the World Cup - be fearless and be confident in the World Cup".

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