Manchester United international watch: Rashford and Rooney scoreas Smalling captains England win

The Reds trio all had a major impact during Friday's friendly against Australia.

Manchester United international watch: Rashford and Rooney scoreas Smalling captains England win
Marcus Rashford celebrates his first goal for England | Photo: Ed Sykes

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford continued his meteoric rise by scoring less than three minutes into his international debut on Friday evening.

The United striker’s early goal put the side on their way to victory, whilst also ensuring the clinical striker became the youngest ever player to score on their international debut for England.

Rashford volleys home

Wearing the number nine shirt for his country, Rashford barely took any time at all to settle into the game when the ball fell to him just outside the area in the third minute of the match.

Rashford opted not to shoot, though, and instead passed to Raheem Sterling who was lurking on the left wing. However, as his first-time cross took a wicked deflection, the ball again fell kindly for the Reds’ deadly finisher who lashed a low volley under Australia ‘keeper Matthew Ryan to put England ahead.

It was a stunning goal and neither England nor Rashford seemed to look back after it was scored, with the Three Lions looking comfortable thereafter.

Rooney shows his worth

Rashford’s early heroics had taken the spotlight away from fellow United striker, Wayne Rooney, who started the match on the bench. However, like Rashford, he too made an early impact after coming on at half-time.

Rooney was on target in the 2nd half | Photo by Nigel Roddis/The FA
Rooney was on target in the 2nd half | Photo by Nigel Roddis/The FA

Just ten minutes after his arrival, Rooney scored an emphatic 52nd international goal. Rashford was again involved as he let a pass from deep run on to Sterling, who then delivered the ball wide to the country’s record goalscorer in space. The veteran striker made no mistake with his finish, as he powerfully struck the ball into the top right corner.

The United duo didn’t have much longer on the pitch together before Rashford was taken off in the 63rd minute but almost combined again for Rooney’s second, who couldn’t quite make contact with his teammate’s wicked right-wing delivery.

Defence breached after Smalling departure

Rashford’s substitution, which was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd, was soon followed by another premature ending to match for fellow United man, Chris Smalling. The defender had been named captain for his country and managed to lead the back four to a clean sheet for the entirety of his time on the field, but that could not be maintained after he was replaced by Eric Dier in the 73rd minute.

Indeed, just two minutes after Smalling had gone off with cramp, Dier headed an Australia cross into his own net, with goalkeeper Fraser Forster unable to do anything about it.

England held onto victory though for what was a satisfying night, especially from a United perspective. Not only had Rashford, Rooney and Smalling took on significant roles in the game, but former academy players Danny Drinkwater and Tom Heaton were involved, too.