England flew out to the Netherland’s for their first of two friendlies of the international break to take on Ronald Koeman’s men.
Let’s face it, the Netherlands aren’t the force they once were, but they would still be strong enough to pose a danger for Gareth Southgate’s somewhat youngish side. Southgate shocked a lot of people with his team selection in Amsterdam, but it was good enough to record a 1-0 win for the Three Lions with the winning goal being scored by Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard.
Lingard, 25, has been in great form this season and has so far bagged 14 goals in 44 games in all competitions. He’s excelled in both wide and central areas and proved himself to be a great attacking threat. His goal, which came in the 59th minute, was trademark Lingard of 17/18. He sprinted forward from midfield positively to receive the ball around 35 yds out before shifting the ball forward to Danny Rose in the inside left channel. Rose’s left foot cross was deflected out and Lingard, who had taken up a position in the D, despatched a measured right foot finish.
Lingard’s display certainly impressed many, especially with the pace and energy he brought to the table and it will certainly give England and Gareth Southgate hope ahead of the World Cup. Lingard played as part of a front three in Amsterdam alongside Raheem Sterling who looks a much-improved player under City manager Pep Guardiola. Lingard’s Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford was also part of the attacking trio in Amsterdam and was another to impress on the night.
Rashford, 20, is one of English football’s brightest prospects and even though he has been in and out of Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side, he’s impressed when he’s had the chance. He’s hit 12 goals and provided 9 assists for them so far this season and like Lingard looked every bit the part against the Netherlands. Rashford, like Lingard and Sterling, ran all night adding pace and a constant attacking threat.
He’s another player who will certainly give England hope ahead of the World Cup. Both Lingard and Rashford are positive players who are always looking to get forward and quickly. Lingard has shown that he’s not only got a great eye for goal but that he can make the right runs at the right time too. Rashford is equally adept at coming in from the left or playing through the middle and is a supremely gifted finisher.
So, while a lot of people’s attentions were on Southgate’s selections in defence against the Netherlands, with Kyle Walker being deployed as a centre back, there was certainly no question marks after the game about his attacking trio. Harry Kane is likely to come back into the fold at the World Cup but at least Southgate knows he has quality in both Lingard and Rashford, who both have the ability to be game winners for England in Russia.