Marcus Rashford laid on one goal and scored the other as England fought back to beat Slovakia 2-1
The 19-year-old laid on one goal before scoring himself to help the Three Lions fight back against Slovakia and secure three points which almost guarantee England’s place at next year’s World Cup.
What makes Rashford’s match winning impact all the more impressive is that it came after he had already gifted the visitors the lead, with his mistake in defence allowing Stanislav Lobotka to open the scoring inside three minutes.
Rather than being affected by his error, Rashford held his head high and provided the majority of England’s attacking threat for the rest of the game.
His corner was flicked into the net by Eric Dier just before the break as the scores were pulled level, then in the second half the United forward fired a long-range strike past goalkeeper Dubravka – a superb goal which turned out to be the winner.
And after the match, Southgate had words of praise for Rashford – though he wants to make sure people stay grounded about the youngster’s potential.
Southgate said: “Like the rest of the team, he showed great character. He’s obviously made the mistake for the goal, but kept persevering and was a real threat.
“It’s very early, we’ve got to keep things in perspective, but he is exciting. He can have an impact in games but there’s a long way to go.”
One negative of the game was an incident involving Dele Alli, with the Spurs midfielder caught on national television making a hand gesture apparently directed toward the referee.
Asked about the gesture, Southgate added: “I’ve not seen it, but we’ll have a look at it over the next couple of days.”