England concluded their preparations for Euro 2020 with a narrow 1-0 victory over Romania in a friendly at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough.
Marcus Rashford converting a 68th-minute penalty that proved to be the eventual winner as the Three Lions get ready to kick off their European Championship campaign at home against Croatia.
England could have made it 2-0 just 10 minutes after Rashford scored, once again from the penalty spot, however, Jordan Henderson missed his spot-kick to keep the score at 1-0.
Manager Gareth Southgate once again selected an experimental starting line-up that included three players – Ben Godfrey, Ben White and James Ward-Prowse – who were not named in his 26-man squad for Euro 2020.
England were the better team and posed the greater attacking threat, with both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jadon Sancho hitting the woodwork in the first half, before Marcus Rashford put them ahead from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after Jack Grealish was fouled by Tiberiu Capusa.
Grealish has looked terrific in the England shirt and it will come to many as a surprise to see him left out of the starting eleven for England’s opening game of Euro 2020.
Rashford was given the captain’s armband, making him the youngest black player to lead England aged just 23 years and 218 days. Rashford also ended up scoring his 100th senior goal (12th goal for England to add to 88 with Manchester United)
Feels so good to be back…… Euros here we come ??????? ?? pic.twitter.com/Zt0VrmgIFe
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) June 6, 2021
West Bromwich Albion keeper Sam Johnstone won his first England cap and looked solid in goal, pulling off a magnificent reaction save from Andre Ivan.
In a patchy England display, Grealish was once again the standout performer, creating dangerous attacking opportunities as well as drawing fouls throughout.
England boss Gareth Southgate was critical of his team’s performance, speaking to ITV: “We had chances to make it more comfortable but so did they, the first half we did not work hard enough without the ball, we were too stretched and did not press well.
“After half-time, I thought we improved and it was helpful we went to 4-3-3 later and I have to say it was a good exercise, players needed the minutes and learned a lot from the game. It was good to win.”
Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White has been announced as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s replacement at Euro 2020 after the latter suffered a thigh injury that will see him out for around six weeks.