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Rashford nets early opener on England debut to help sink Australia

| 29.05.2016

Lee Gormley | May 27, 2016

England 2-1 Australia

  • Man Utd’s Rashford makes his full England debut
  • The 18-year-old makes instant impact scoring opener after just two minutes
  • First-half ends with England’s 1-0 lead still intact
  • Rooney comes off bench to add another goal in second-half
  • Dier heads in own-goal moments after being introduced
  • England see out 2-1 win at Stadium of Light

England down Aussies on Wearside

Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford struck just two minutes into his senior international debut to help Roy Hodgson’s England overcome Australia 2-1 at the Stadium of Light, as they ended their penultimate friendly clash before Euro 2016 on a high note.

England v Australia - International Friendly - Stadium of Light

An earlier injury to Daniel Sturridge saw Rashford handed a chance to impress on his maiden outing for his country, and he didn’t disappoint as he fired in with only his fourth touch of the ball to become England’s youngest ever debutant goalscorer.

Coral have slashed odds for Rashford to start the Three Lions’ Euro 2016 opener against Russia to 6/1 (from 66/1) as a result of his brilliant senior international bow.

Skipper Rooney added another goal in the second-half after being brought on from the bench during the break, while Eric Dier calamitously headed in an own-goal to gift Australia a lifeline, though Hodgson’s men saw out a 2-1 result nevertheless.

Rashford’s early strike meant that he has now netted on his debut in all of the Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and for England this season, with his latest heroics potentially sending a message to recently-appointed club boss Jose Mourinho, as well as Hodgson, who will name his final roster soon.

Rashford makes instant impact

With just two minutes gone at the Stadium of Light, Man Utd frontman Rashford made an incredible start to his international career by firing in from close-range with a cool side-footed volley, after linking up with Raheem Sterling on the left flank.

England v Australia - International Friendly - Stadium of Light

Only three months after making his senior club debut, Old Trafford academy product Rashford made the best possible start to proceedings on his Three Lions bow and immediately boosted his chances of a squad place for Euro 2016 this summer.

Adam Lallana, Sterling and Nathaniel Clyne were enjoying time on the ball and looked threatening going forward, but it was the English rearguard that looked fragile, with both Chris Smalling and goalkeeper Fraser Forster making early mistakes that could’ve cost a goal.

Both sides had began in a 4-4-2 formation and it made for a congested midfield, as Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson struggled to get on the ball for long, though a quick Sterling-led counter attack saw another chance for Rashford open up, but this time the youngster was unable to capitalise as Mark Milligan got back on time.

Aussies piling pressure on

Aussie midfielder Tom Rogic had struck the goal of the season in the Scottish Premiership, but he couldn’t discover similar scoring exploits with 17 minutes gone, as the Celtic playmaker saw his left-footed effort from 25 yards sail wide.

England v Australia - International Friendly - Stadium of Light

The visiting Socceroos were growing in confidence as the first-half went on, with captain Mile Jedinak, who recently tasted an FA Cup final defeat during club duties for Crystal Palace, was finding more space and Aussie striker Jamie Maclaren causing problems with his runs in behind.

Despite making the perfect start on Wearside, it was England that were now pegged back as Australia dominated possession, and they threatened Forster’s goal yet again when Joshua Risdon sent in a tasty deliver for Maclaren, but Smalling was able to recover and clear any danger.

With 40 minutes gone, Liverpool skipper Henderson forced Mathew Ryan into a save with a thumping first-time shot after receiving a free-kick lay-off from the right wing, though the Three Lions couldn’t add to their early advantage, as the opening half ended 1-0.

Rooney adds second after break

Wayne Rooney and James Milner was introduced at the break by Hodgson in place of Lallana and Wilshere, and the captain instantly found himself through with just one Aussie defender ahead of him, but the Man Utd attacker scuffed his advancing attempts.

Britain Soccer England Australia

Though he put that fluffed opportunity behind him after 54 minutes when played in on goal by a composed Sterling, with the all-time England marksman taking once touch to set himself then emphatically blasted the ball past Ryan to extend the lead to 2-0, his first ever successful strike as an England substitute.

A great burst out of defence from Ryan Bertrand led to impressive link-up between Red Devils duo Rooney and Rashford on the hour mark, with the skipper narrowly unable to connect properly and add his second off a low-driven cross from his Old Trafford teammate.

England see out win despite Dier OG

Liverpool midfielder Milner almost grabbed a third for England with just over quarter of an hour to go but, after wriggling his way into a shooting position in the Aussie penalty area, he could only curl his effort too far right of the post.

England v Australia - International Friendly - Stadium of Light

Smalling soon made way for Tottenham holding midfielder Eric Dier, who was drafted into the back four by Hodgson, but the Spurs youngster made an immediate error when misjudging a header to score in his own net just minutes after coming on.

It wasn’t to matter though as England saw out a 2-1 triumph in their final game before jetting off to France, where Hodgson’s men are 17/2 with Coral to reign supreme, with their opening tournament clash falling on June 11th against Russia.


Read our extensive Euro 2016 section ahead of the big kick-off this summer.

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Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.