Harry Kane may have dominated the headlines after scoring both of his team's goals, but the performance of Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford also earned praise following England's opening victory at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Rashford’s pace and directness caused havoc for the Tunisian backline, and he noticeably raised England’s tempo during a period of the game when it seemed the Three Lions were beginning to tire.
His trickery and jinking runs were key to England’s recovery and many are now backing him to start in the upcoming game against Panama on Sunday.
Gareth Southgate is well aware of Rashford’s ability to find the net, something he did in the final pre-tournament warm-up game against Costa Rica, and his potential introduction to the starting XI could give England an added goal threat.
Has to be Rashford for Sterling in the next game. Impressed when he came on. Loftus-Cheek was very bright as well, he definitely staked a claim for a spot as well.— Hesham Bilal-Hafiz (@hesham786) June 18, 2018
The Reds no.19 wasn’t the only United star playing his first World Cup game on Monday, with Jesse Lingard and Ashley Young starting in Volograd.
Lingard was one of England’s main attacking threats and was unlucky not to open his scoring account at the tournament.
The midfielder linked well with Harry Kane and, as well as being involved in a number of chances, his incisive runs created space for England’s other attacking players.
In searching for a winner Gareth Southgate made a few attacking changes, but it was telling that the United man was only withdrawn after Kane’s late goal.
The Numbers Game: Club & CountryVideo
ManUtd.com’s James Tuck enjoyed watching Jesse Lingard’s World Cup bow…
“Reading some of the comments from fans on Twitter last night, you’d think Jesse Lingard had performed badly. I actually think he was England’s best player – Harry Kane may have grabbed the headlines but Lingard made them tick. Sure, he was guilty of missing a couple of very presentable chances but he was in the positions to score them in the first place. In my view, he was England’s most dangerous attacking threat, ghosting into spaces in the final third in trademark fashion, and ran his socks off before understandably tiring somewhat in the Volgograd humidity. As a general rule, international football doesn’t hugely excite me but watching our Academy graduate fulfil a childhood dream with a nerveless display in his first appearance at a World Cup filled me with pride. It augurs well both for England and United.”
His whipped crosses were a constant threat for Tunisia and he would have claimed an assist had Lingard buried a far-post volley late in the first half.
Young provided a seamless transition between attack and defence for England and it’s a credit to the defender that at 32, he can still perform on the world’s biggest stage. The Manchester United trio will be hoping to continue their good form into the Panama game before their showdown against team-mates Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini on 28 July.
What a start! 3 big points to kick start this tournament! The togetherness, mentality and strength of this team was unreal tonight! 🤘🏾🦁🦁🦁 pic.twitter.com/8U2PTsgjTn— Ashley Young (@youngy18) June 18, 2018