Teenage star Marcus Rashford made a convincing case to be included in England’s squad for the European Championship by scoring within three minutes of his international debut in a 2-1 friendly win over Australia on Friday.
Wayne Rooney scored England’s other goal after coming on as a halftime substitute in the team’s final game before its final 23-man squad is selected.
Rashford only made his Manchester United debut in February but a fairytale first season could yet be extended to include Euro 2016. At 18 years and 208 days, Rashford became the youngest player to score on his England debut and he played a part in Rooney’s 55th-minute goal before getting a standing ovation when he was substituted.
Rashford has already scored on his United debut, his Premier League debut and in his first Manchester derby. Now he has scored with his fourth touch of the ball in international soccer, after 138 seconds.
“Incredible really,” England midfielder Jordan Henderson said. “That’s the season he’s had, really. He has no fear, wants the ball all the time.
“He’s got everything — good on the ball, good movement, finishing’s very good for young lad.”
Australia, which overran England for spells in the first half, scored from an own goal by substitute Eric Dier. England also beat Turkey 2-1 on Sunday, and has one more warmup game before the Euros — against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal on Thursday.
Rashford, who was only starting because of an injury to Daniel Sturridge, celebrated almost bashfully after running onto a deflected cross from Raheem Sterling and volleying home a shot inside the neat post. Rooney was spotted with a wide smile on the bench, as was Rashford’s mother in the crowd at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
Rashford is the third-youngest player to score for England, behind Rooney and Michael Owen. A 19-year-old Tommy Lawton was the previous youngest player to score on England debut, in 1938.
Rooney’s goal had its origins in a smart turn from Rashford near the halfway line. Sterling raced on and passed the ball across to Rooney, who controlled and smashed home a rising shot from the edge of the area.
England coach Roy Hodgson decided to bring off Rashford in the 63rd minute, to applause around the ground. The youngster played as a winger in the second half to accommodate Rooney.
Dier has played as a midfield anchorman for Tottenham this season and will likely start for England in that position at the Euros. He will also be a back-up center back in France and he played there against Australia after coming on as a replacement for Chris Smalling.
Within moments of coming on, he stooped to head clear a cross but turned the ball into his own net in the 75th.