June 19, 2018

Sterling relishes World Cup stage as England’s number 10

09 June 2018, 05:15 | Joan Schultz

PAWorld Cup 2018 England v Costa Rica will kick off at Elland Road

World Cup 2018 England at Elland Road

A sold out Elland Road was treated to its first England global since 2002 - and boy did the locals enjoy it.

"We could go through 11 of those on the basis of what we saw tonight - and that's critical because we won't progress on 11 players chosen in the first game".

The players were greeted earlier in the day by Prince William, who is president of the English Football Association but won't be traveling to Russian Federation as a fallout from the diplomatic tensions between the countries. "He played with a real swagger", Southgate told reporters. England flags were laid out on every seat and red and white glowed in the sun. England have gone through 190 fixtures and five coaches since their last appearance at Elland Road.

Navas was Costa Rica's hero of an incredible run to the World Cup quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil, helping to knock England out of the group stages on the way.

He may have made 10 changes from the team that beat Nigeria 2-1 at Wembley - but this was a selection made with a view to giving players a chance to impress, which Rashford did superbly, and ensuring all the members of his squad are at the peak of fitness when they leave for Russian Federation on Tuesday.

Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli are both more natural fits for that kind of task but Henderson has played the number eight position in the past and would have no concerns about doing so again in Russian Federation.

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Gareth Southgate made eight changes to the side that beat Nigeria 2-1 at Wembley on Sunday and it was Marcus Rashford that put the home side ahead after 12 minutes when his stunning long-range strike fizzed past Keylor Navas.

Sixteen games for Leeds, where he moved from Stoke City, culminated in 28 concessions at a time when Massimo Cellino was thrashing out a takeover of United and Brian McDermott's dressing room was falling apart.

The Three Lions manager admitted that he was impressed with the performance of young Rashford, who was a nightmare for Costa Rica defenders throughout the match and scored the first goal.

Navas kept his side in the game by denying Jamie Vardy from point-blank range as he latched onto Leicester team-mate Harry Maguire's knockdown.

John Barnes believes England's Marcus Rashford may start the World Cup as a substitute despite an eye-catching display against Costa Rica. Next stop Russian Federation after a night when Elland Road regained its place on the worldwide map.

Danny Rose and debutant Trent Alexander-Arnold shone in the wing-back roles, utility man Fabian Delph was a tireless presence in midfield and, while starved of saves to make, Jack Butland was a composed presence in goal. "That's what Harry Kane does and what, unfortunately, Sterling doesn't do".

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