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England 1 Switzerland 0: Rashford gets Southgate's men back to winning ways

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Englands Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring

Leicester, September 12: Marcus Rashford scored in consecutive matches for the first time in his international career as England returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Switzerland in Leicester.

Rashford's a 'big part' of England's future - Southgate

Manchester United forward Rashford gave the Three Lions an early lead at home to Spain on Saturday (September 8) before they fell to a 2-1 Nations League defeat.

He was one of only two players to keep their place as Gareth Southgate shuffled his pack at the King Power Stadium and a disjointed first-half showing followed.

There was a marked improvement in the second period, with Rashford on hand to halt a run of three consecutive defeats for the World Cup semi-finalists.

Xherdan Shaqiri hit the outside of the post in the seventh minute after his former Stoke City team-mate Jack Butland made two poor passes out from the back.

Butland atoned for his earlier wobbles by thwarting Mario Gavranovic and Ricardo Rodriguez as England struggled to impose themselves on the contest.

Danny Rose saw a rasping shot pushed clear by Yann Sommer, with the Tottenham wing-back the most regular source of fleeting attacking encouragement for the hosts.

England were fortunate to reach half-time on terms but there was an improvement in terms of intensity and performance from Southgate's men after the restart.

The reward arrived in the 54th minute as Kyle Walker arrowed Rose's overhit corner back into the box from the right and Rashford stroked home unmarked at the far post.

John Stones was introduced in a triple substitution alongside Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard after the hour and the Manchester City defender ended up with a bloodied head having bravely denied Shaqiri.

Stones was less impressive in allowing Albian Ajeti to barge beyond him in the final minute, but the Switzerland substitute blazed over.

What it means: Southgate nudged towards next generation

The England boss understandably showed loyalty to the squad that served him and the country so well in Russia for this international break. However, a line-up displaying nine changes was outplayed for the opening 45 minutes. Depth of quality does not appears to be a strong suit with the Three Lions' current crop and some new blood to push Southgate's regulars can be expected next month.

Pat on the back: Rose makes left wing-back spot a thorny issue

Amid the general torpor, Tottenham's Rose regularly drove England forward before the break, almost getting on the scoresheet. Following Luke Shaw's similarly encouraging showing against Spain and with Walker, Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold as options on the other side, wing-back is one position where Southgate does not lack for elite talent.

Boot up the backside: Butland no pass master

England's chosen method of building play from the back must be carried out with purpose and intent. Butland's work with the ball at his feet had neither early on and, although he responded with a couple of decent saves, he had unhelpfully set the tone for a poor display that had to be rescued by half-time tweaks.

What's next

England face the daunting prospect of back-to-back Nations League trips to Croatia and Spain next month, although their World Cup semi-final conquerors were demolished 6-0 in Elche on Tuesday. Boosted by their own 6-0 hammering of Iceland at the weekend, Switzerland will negotiate that return clash after travelling to Belgium.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 2:30 [IST]
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