Pundits purr over Marcus Rashford after two-goal England salvo sinks Wales and Man Utd spring into contract action

Marcus Rashford (centre) celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game during the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar Credit: Alamy
Marcus Rashford (centre) celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game during the FIFA World Cup Group B match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar Credit: Alamy

Marcus Rashford stole the headlines after his double secured England top spot in World Cup Group B with a resounding 3-0 victory over Wales in Qatar.

The Three Lions went into the game with a little to prove after Friday’s frustrating 0-0 draw with United States. And while England’s place in the knockout stages was close to safe before kick-off, Gareth Southgate will have wanted a response from his players.

And that’s exactly what he got as two goals from Rashford  – the first a sublime free-kick – and one from Phil Foden served up a memorable win.

The result means England will face Senegal in the last 16 of the World Cup on Sunday after the west African side secured runners-up place in Group A.

The performance of England’s frontmen, in particular Rashford, will give Southgate a bit of a headache going into that clash.

But the pundits were certainly in awe of Rashford following his two goal salvo.

Speaking during commentary for BBC1, Jermaine Jenas was hugely impresssed.

“We know exactly what he is capable of. He is back in the goals for club and country. It’s a brilliantly taken free-kick,” he beamed. “He’s got the whip and dip on it. I do think the keeper will be disappointed though when he looks back. It is technical brilliance though from Rashford and well worth the wait for those England fans.”

Marcus Rashford hailed after two-goal England display

After his second, Jenas added: “It’s a special one for Rashford. They knocked it round beautifully and it’s a sublime ball from Kalvin Phillips which is right on the money.

“When he picked up the ball there was only one thing on his mind. He cuts inside and smashes a low shot that goes right through Danny Ward into the back of the net.

“Rashford in this kind of form is unstoppable. Too quick, too sharp, too sharp, too confident.”

Commentator Guy Mowbray added: “It’s great to see Marcus Rashford smiling again on a football field. There was that period when it all seemed a bit of chore.”

Rio Ferdinand added: “Marcus Rashford is a devastating footballer.”

Rashford’s deal at Manchester United is due to expire in summer 2023, with United eager to extend that deal. Indeed, it was reported a week ago that a new arrangement was closing in.

The club do hold a one-year option on that deal, anyway, meaning there is little danger of him departing on a free.

Fabrizio Romano on Rashford future

And his performance in sinking Wales will only serve to underline that desire to extend his deal.

Tweeting about his future, trusted reporter Fabrizio Romano stated: “His current deal expires in June 2023, Man Utd have option to extend to June 2024, but Man Utd will offer him a new long-term deal.”

Another man to catch the eye was Foden, who slotted in England’s second.

Jenas said of the Man City star: “That is why he’s in the team, that’s a magnificent finish but it’s been put on a plate for him. He’s so quick, so skilful and really hard to knock off the ball. He’s won the free-kick for the first goal and now put England 2-0 to the good.”

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