After two games where he had to be content with cameo appearances off the bench, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford finally got the chance to start a game in the World Cup.
Not many could have seen this happening especially after his difficult campaign last year and the fact that he was not selected in a England squad for quite sometime.
But the Mancunian proved his worth on Tuesday, as he scored twice to help the Three Lions secure a comfortable 3-0 win over Wales to qualify for the knockouts.
And in the process, the 25-year-old broke a number of records.
He now has the most goals this World Cup with three and has the scored the same number of World Cup goals as United and England legend David Beckham and more than Wayne Rooney.
Rashford was close to breaking the deadlock in the first-half when he found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper but his effort was well-saved.
Marcus Rashford has now scored 5 Direct Free Kicks in his career.
Rocket. 🚀 pic.twitter.com/j2mzcnHjpN
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) November 29, 2022
While the United academy graduate’s finishing has come under the scanner this season, his work-rate has not. He is not so easily deterred now under Erik ten Hag and that was on display in the second-half.
Despite the miss, Rashford had the courage to keep trying and it finally bore fruit when his direct free-kick crashed into the back of the net to hand Gareth Southgate’s team the lead. It was his fifth direct free-kick goal in his career.
Rashford’s new superpower
His much-improved pressing ability led to England’s second, which was scored by Phil Foden before he then he cut in from the right to score the final goal of the game.
The United No 10 has not enjoyed himself when played on the right flank but in this World Cup, Rashford has scored twice while cutting in from the right before slotting home with his left.
And this new-found trait can come in handy when he rejoins his boyhood club. He could have scored a hat-trick but for a fine save by the Welsh keeper with his feet.
Rashford finished the game with an impressive 50 touches and four shots on target. He also completed three dribbles and completed one long ball.
England finished top of their group and will next face Senegal in the Round of 16.