Dour England battle past Switzerland in friendly

Yahoo Sport UK
Marcus Rashford’s goal was the difference against Switzerland
Marcus Rashford’s goal was the difference against Switzerland

Marcus Rashford scored his second goal in as many games to hand England a dour 1-0 win over Switzerland in Leicester.

The result sees the Three Lions avoid a fourth consecutive loss for the first time in their history, but there will be precious little for Gareth Southgate to take from the first half in particular.

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Southgate took the chance to shake up his side, making nine changes from the team which lost 2-1 against Spain on Saturday.

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Jack Butland got the nod in goal, with fullbacks Danny Rose and Trent Alexander-Arnold given a chance to impress, and James Tarkowski played just his second full international. Eric Dier and Fabian Delph were given the jobs of running the midfield alongside Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with Danny Welbeck and Marcus Rashford starting up front.

However, with the exception of man-of-the-match Rose, none of them will have made a compelling case to be in Southgate’s next starting XI.

Butland and Tarkowski looked shaky at the back, while the midfield trio were anonymous. Loftus-Cheek in particular will have done little to press his case for Chelsea selection.

There was a marked improvement in the second period, with Rashford on hand to halt a run of three consecutive defeats for the World Cup semi-finalists.

Southgate’s squad players failed to impress
Southgate’s squad players failed to impress

The new-look England started slowly and had two let offs inside the first 10 minutes. First Butland almost passed the ball into his own net, before Tarkwoski dawdled on the keeper’s pass which allowed Xherdan Shaqiri to hit the post.

After the disjointed start, the match settled down as Switzerland dominated possession with chances at a premium for both sides.

Alexander-Arnold sent a free-kick straight at Yann Sommer in goal, before Mario Gabranovic did well to get between Tarkowski and Kyle Walker, but the pair were bailed out by Butland. Butland was then called into action from the corner, forced to save with his feet.

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Sommer then had to be alert to keep out Rose’s powerful close-range shot.

The second half could only improve, and to their credit England were much brighter and took the lead through Rashford after 10 minutes.

Rose won a corner on the left and his overhit ball found Walker, luckily the Manchester City fullback’s ball to the far post was much better, allowing the Manchester United striker to volley home at the back post.

Rashford found space at the back post to score the only goal of the game
Rashford found space at the back post to score the only goal of the game

Southgate rung the changes at the hour mark as Harry Kane, Jess Lingard, Jordan Henderson and John Stones came on for Welbeck, Loftus-Cheek, Delph and Tarkowski.

The goal and the changes allowed the Three Lions control the game and they were able to keep Switzerland at bay in the second half.

Stones in particular made an instant impact by brilliantly blocked Shaqiri’s point-blank shot when the Liverpool star looked certain to score.

There was even time for Leicester left back Ben Chilwell to make his England debut at his home ground in place Rose.

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