Roy Hodgson was delighted with Marcus Rashford’s England debut, but would not be drawn on whether he could force Daniel Sturridge out of Euro 2016.
The Manchester United teenager became the youngest England debutant to score when he struck the opening goal of Friday’s 2-1 friendly win over Australia at the Stadium of Light.
Rashford, a surprise inclusion in Hodgson’s provisional plans for the Euro 2016 warm-up matches, impressed in an otherwise disjointed England display, while Sturridge was forced to sit out due to a calf problem sustained this week.
Hodgson, however, would not rule out the prospect of Sturridge earning a place in his final 23-man squad on Tuesday – though he did stress that fitness concerns will not play a part in his decision.
Assessing Rashford, the England boss told ITV: “It’s fantastic. He did well, I’m pleased for him. He tired a bit in the second half but that’s normal. What a debut!
“You asked me before if I thought that he was capable of dealing with the situation and we got a resounding ‘yes’.”
Asked if Rashford had done enough to go to France, Hodgson replied: “Let’s wait and see. I’ve got until Tuesday. He certainly wouldn’t be out of place in anyone’s 23 but I’ve got difficult choices to make.
“I don’t think it’s fitness-dependent. I think the doubts we had have been answered. We’ve had two matches and plenty of training sessions so I don’t think I’ll be using that as an excuse in any way.
“It’ll be interesting to see how Sturridge goes over the weekend. I hope he’ll train on Monday. If that’s the case then the calf injury won’t be a reason for me to leave him out. None of the decisions will be injury-related.”
England once more began with a 4-4-2 diamond before shifting to a 4-3-3 formation after the interval, with Wayne Rooney scoring a fine second after coming on to spearhead the attack in the second half.
Rashford moved into a wide role to accommodate the captain’s introduction, and Hodgson hinted that his ability to adapt his position could well count in his favour when the final decision is made.
“We used two systems – we started with a diamond and moved into a 4-3-3,” he added. “I thought it worked slightly better in the second half.
“We needed Rooney to come on and play as a centre forward and we wanted to see if Marcus Rashford could do a job out wide. I got the answers I wanted.”