England coach Gareth Southgate has said that Marcus Rashford, who is the best player in the World Cup, is a changed player compared to how he was at Euro 2021.
Last summer, Rashford was the player who suffered a shoulder injury as England reached the final of the European Championship, and ended up missing a penalty in a shootout against Italy.
A bad season on the pitch followed at Manchester United and Rashford left England contention entirely.
But the 25-year-old has looked rejuvenated under the club’s new coach Erik ten Hag, he says Sky Sports in October he is now in a “good headspace”, forcing a return to Southgate’s plans in Qatar.
He made his first appearance for England since last year’s final with a goal off the bench against Iran in the group’s opener and his brace against Wales took him top of the World Cup goalscoring charts and shows he can be in line. for the opening round against Senegal in the last 16 on Sunday.
Asked about Rashford’s battle through fitness and form, Southgate says he is now working with a player who is in a very different situation to the one he last had in England.
“It’s been difficult for him,” Southgate said in his post-match press conference, following England’s 3-0 win over Wales. “I went to see him in the summer, I talked to him for a long time, and he had very clear ideas that he felt he needed to think about and implement.
“You can see with his club there has been an excitement in his game this year, and that has shown on the training pitch with us.
“We have a different type of player to the one we had in the Euros last summer. He managed to create that moment tonight, and he could have had a real hat-trick.
“It’s good for him, and because it’s good for him it’s good for us.”
‘England has a different view of the field at Russia 2018; time to celebrate with a milkshake?!’
Southgate allowed his players to celebrate with a little beer as they qualified from their squad for Russia 2018. That is not on the cards in Qatar, with Southgate suggesting his players should settle for soft drinks in the dry season.
But his other comparison to the previous World Cup was to confirm how the expectations and attitudes of his players have changed in those four years.
“We have a lot of milkshakes at the hotel,” he joked, when asked how the players would enjoy themselves. “Everything is different, we are embracing it, the players are very tight, so so far we are very happy. Yes the big business starts here.
“Compared to Russia, there is a different mentality of the whole team, there is a lot of faith, our goals are different. In Russia we were just thinking about winning the knock-out game. There is a lot of expectation now, but a lot of confidence and a lot of experience in big games.
“So I don’t know if we’re ahead of where we were last summer [at the end of the Euros group stage]but of course we are happy that the first goal has been achieved, the team spirit is good, we have found a great group in the game which is very good for the players, and without yellow cards, which is a very good position. for us.”
England’s path to the World Cup final
Round 16 – Sunday December 4th
England vs Senegal – Start at 7pm
Quarter-finals – Saturday December 10
England vs France or Argentina (Depending on current team status) – Start at 7pm
Semi-finals – Wednesday December 14
England vs Croatia/Japan/Portugal/Switzerland (Depending on current team status) – Start at 7pm