5 England players with a point to prove after the international break
The international break is over, and despite England picking up another six points towards qualifying for Euro 2020 after defeating Bulgaria and Kosovo, a lot of questions surrounding Gareth Southgate and his squad remain unanswered – most notably, who exactly belongs in his strongest line-up?
With no more internationals until October, the only way that Southgate’s players will have to impress him now is to perform well for their clubs, and of course, the Premier League returns this weekend just in time for that.
With the events of England’s last two games in mind, the following players will want to really stake a claim for a starting spot for the Three Lions over the next few weeks. Here are 5 England stars with a point to prove after the September international break.
#1 Marcus Rashford
It’s been an interesting few days for Marcus Rashford, as the Manchester United forward was in the news in the build-up to last weekend’s England vs. Bulgaria match, and not really for the right reasons.
Not only was his finishing criticised by United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but former England striker Michael Owen also entered the fray, suggesting that Rashford lacks the “killer instinct” required to be a genuinely top-class goalscorer.
Rashford had a chance to quieten his critics when he was selected to start the game against Bulgaria, but despite playing relatively well as a wide forward on the left side of England’s three-pronged attack, winning a second half penalty, he was unable to find the back of the net despite being presented with a couple of good chances. And when he was brought on as a substitute in the game against Kosovo, he missed another gilt-edged chance.
The most worrying thing for Rashford’s future England hopes? Not only did Jadon Sancho, the man who replaced him in the starting XI against Kosovo, score twice, but he also played on the right – enabling Raheem Sterling to play from his preferred left hand side and star in a Man of the Match-level performance.
If he wants to secure a spot in England’s starting line-up going forward, there’s no doubt that Rashford needs to start scoring more goals for Manchester United – his current record of 2 goals in 4 games isn’t bad, but could be improved on if his finishing was sharper.
United are faced with a tough test in the form of Leicester City this weekend – so there’d be no better time for Rashford to begin a goalscoring run.