Squad tilted towards attack

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford scored after 138 seconds of his debut against Australia on 27 May 2016

Manager Roy Hodgson says his final 23-man England squad for the European Championships is based on attack.

And that is why he chose Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford ahead of Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater.

Hodgson, speaking before Thursday’s final friendly against Portugal at Wembley, said his selection was “tilted towards an offensive approach”.

He added: “It became a question of do I take the extra attacker or midfielder? That’s how Rashford came about.”

Hodgson’s side begin their Group B campaign in France against Russia on 11 June, before meeting Wales on 16 June and Slovakia on 20 June.

Eighteen-year-old Rashford’s rapid rise into the England squad, scoring on his debut against Australia last week, was described as “incredible for his age” by captain Wayne Rooney.

And Hodgson added: “Rashford’s had that fantastic end to the season and it will be very interesting to see in a squad of 23 whether he can bring those qualities at a higher level.”

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Hodgson, 68, has been criticised for picking just three recognised central defenders but he is confident England will be solid in defence.

“We believe defending is very much a team job and we can’t just rely on a back four and a goalkeeper,” he said.

“We need great mobility and great running power to defend in that way. With this squad they’ve got the ability to give us that.

“Often in a tournament the players that get injured or suffer a lack of form are the guys at the cutting edge, the guys who make the difference or score the goals.”

He added he was happy he had so many good players to put on the field.

“Systems win you nothing and football players win you games,” he said. “If they perform anything like they’re capable of we’ll be a tough team to beat.”


Wayne Rooney, 52 goals in 110 England appearances, will start against Portugal at Wembley on Thursday

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