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5 reasons why Gareth Southgate should start Marcus Rashford against Croatia

ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
2.81K   //    11 Jul 2018, 17:26 IST

Sweden v England : Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Rashford in action for the Three Lions in the match against Sweden

If history is anything to go by, England have the upper hand against Croatia when the two sides meet on 11th July in the second semi-final of the FIFA World Cup. The two sides have met 7 times before, with England winning 4 times and losing only twice.

The last time they faced each other in a major tournament was Euro 2004, where Wayne Rooney scored twice to ensure England won the game 4-2. However, history does not always decide the outcome of a game as crucial as the World Cup semi-finals, and as such Gareth Southgate will need all the tricks in his bag to stop an inspired Croatian side.

Among the many guns in his weaponry, there is a young and fast Manchester United forward who is raring to go and justify his immense talent. At 20 years old, Marcus Rashford already has 23 caps for England and has scored 3 goals.

He is coming off a stellar season with Manchester United, where Jose Mourinho has used him 63 times in all competitions. He has scored 13 goals and has 6 assists to his name and is also flexible in his position. He has averaged 1.8 shots at goal and 1.4 dribbles per game.

In his 35 appearances in the Premier League, 18 of which were as a substitute, he has attempted 61 shots, with 21 of them on target. He has hit the woodwork twice and put in 81 crosses.

And he is fast, having recorded 35.21 kmph in the 2017-2018 season. It is time that the England Manager unleashed Marcus Rashford upon the Croatians and there are 5 interesting reasons why he should do so

#5 Speed, Power and Finishing

Like the teenage sensation Mbappe, Rashford is gifted with pace to burn and he will stretch the Croatian defence to ensure there is more room for runners from the midfield. Right back Sime Vrsaljko has niggling injury concerns and in the rare case that he misses out, Corluka or Jedvaj could start.

Rashford could take advantage of either situation and even if Vrsaljko is fit, Rashford will cause him to be careful while joining the attack. Rashford also has a fiery shot in him and his finishing could provide Southgate with an alternative to the misfiring Sterling.

Rashford also has the ability to hit some long rangers and he likes to drive back inside from the left and target the second bar. And consider this, Kylian Mbappe recorded a top speed of 32.4 kmph against Argentina. Marcus Rashford, coming on as a substitute in England’s 2-0 win over Sweden, achieved a top speed of 33.77kmph.

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Deepungsu works 6 days a week, plays football on weekends, but thinks about the beautiful game every minute of the day. He tries to sprinkle his love of football in his writings. Diego Maradona made him fall in love with Football, Paul Scholes showed him how beautiful the game could be and Lionel Messi made him believe in the impossible. Manchester United has kept him sane for the last two decades.
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