Sterling relishes World Cup stage as England’s number 10

Heather Diaz
June 10, 2018

Phil Jones clipped the crossbar with a header but it was Rashford who looked brightest in a positive early spell for England, and it was fitting for him to break the deadlock.

Here, Press Association Sport assesses their contribution in the Three Lions' last match before the World Cup gets under way in Russian Federation next week.

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.

Southgate's side honed their skills at a sold-out Elland Road on Thursday evening as they followed the win against Nigeria by beating Costa Rica in a manner more stirring than the 2-0 scoreline suggests.

Marcus Rashford insisted England have the "highest expectations" going into the World Cup after comfortably winning their final warm-up game.

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.

For the first time since May 2016 and just third since the opening of the New Wembley, England were playing a home game away from the dubbed "Home of Football".

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Real Madrid goalkeeper Navas was completely caught out moments later, though, as Rashford unleashed a powerful drive from 25 yards for his third worldwide goal.

Though he wouldn't be drawn on whether or not he had already decided his starting XI for England's opener against Tunisia on June 18, Southgate said: "We have got great competition for places throughout the team - you saw that tonight".

"I have been in constant dialogue with Gareth throughout the whole season really, not just since my last injury, the hamstring back in March, and he has been absolutely fantastic with me". It was completely different personnel, different qualities on the pitch, but the same idea and following how the boss wants to play.

The second half was a more subdued affair in terms of chances, the ten substitutions perhaps affecting the game's flow.

Gareth Southgate has welcomed a selection headache for England ahead of the World Cup in Russian Federation after their impressive 2-0 win over Costa Rica.

It's fair to say nobody had a bad game against Costa Rica. Subs (not used): Pemberton, Moreira, Acosta, Duarte, Colindres, Ruiz, Wallace, Azofeifa.

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