England star Marcus Rashford has stated that Gareth Southgate has transformed the Three Lions for the better ahead of their final group-stage match at the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Rashford, 25, is expected to start for England in their final Group B fixture against Wales at Al Rayyan on Tuesday (29 November) after coming off the bench on two occasions. He even scored during his 19-minute cameo in his team’s commanding 6-2 win over Iran last week.
An experienced member of the Three Lions squad, the Manchester United forward earned his first international cap under former manager Roy Hodgson back in May 2016. Since then, he has been to three major tournaments, including two FIFA World Cups, with Southgate.
“I’m just happy to be enjoying my football.”
@MarcusRashford on his return to the #ThreeLions group at the @FIFAWorldCup…
Speaking at a pre-match press conference, Rashford offered support to Southgate after his team’s recent 0-0 draw against USA. Heaping praise on his current head coach, he told reporters (via Metro):
“I feel like, for this squad, it has never really been an issue, especially since Gareth’s been managing. Maybe before, it was a little bit of an issue in terms of quality of training and people’s dedication to training but since he’s been manager, it’s been good.”
The Manchester United forward continued:
“It’s been intense, it’s been challenging and I feel like everyone, me included, is ready to do their bit when they come onto the pitch if they get an opportunity. I was only there for a short period of time before but the standard of training wasn’t as high.”
Rashford, who has registered 13 goals and five assists in 48 international games, claimed that his national team has grown a lot since Southgate’s appointment in November 2016. He added:
“There’s obviously been a clear improvement. We’ve obviously done much better in the major tournaments but even in the games we’ve played throughout the year, we’ve played better. I think as a collective, we’re very strong. The togetherness is really high and it is a big feature that Gareth puts emphasis on.”
The England international also stated:
“I don’t think it takes a genius to see that we’ve improved since 2016. It feels like a completely different team. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves along the way, so I feel we’re a really strong team that has the capabilities to win against any team. We stick by each other in both good and tough moments.”
Edging closer to matchday
Depending on the results, England will face one of The Netherlands, Senegal, or Ecuador in the last-16 stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Three England players urged to be rested against Wales at 2022 FIFA World Cup
Speaking on talkSPORT (via Metro), former England captain Stuart Pearce stated that Declan Rice, Luke Shaw, and Harry Kane should be rested for their final 2022 FIFA World Cup group-stage match. He said:
“There’s a couple I’d like to not see play [against Wales] because I cannot afford for them to be injured for the knockout stages. Declan Rice number one, Luke Shaw number two because he gives us natural balance on the left-hand side and we have no natural left-foot replacement there. Kane might be another one.”
Kieran Trippier is said to be an emergency backup to Shaw, with Trent Alexander-Arnold or Kyle Walker expected to slot in at right-back in his place. Jordan Henderson or Kalvin Phillips could replace Rice in England’s midfield at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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