LONDON: A team made up largely of reserves defeated Romania 1-0 in England’s last warm-up before opening their Euro Group D campaign against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday. Captain Marcus Rashford scored the winner from a 68th-minute penalty while substitute Jordan Henderson missed a second half spot-kick.
Liverpool captain Henderson, making his first appearance in more than three months, has never scored a goal for his country.
Afterwards manager Gareth Southgate said: “We had chances to make it more comfortable but so did they. In 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. The players needed the minutes and learned a lot from the game.”
Southgate, asked who will replace Trent Alexander-Arnold, said: “We want to check how we are after the game medically and will make the decision over the next 24 hours. I will keep my powder dry for now.”
Alexander-Arnold injured a thigh muscle in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Austria at Middlesbrough. The 22-year-old is expected to be out for four to six weeks. He had only just been recalled to the squad after being dropped for the World Cup-ties in March.
England already have three other rightbacks in the squad in Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier, Chelsea’s Reece James and Manchester City’s Kyle Walker. This means Southgate may prefer to replace Alexander-Arnold with a midfielder. An obvious choice would be Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse who was unlucky to be cut from the ‘long list’ and played effectively against Romania.
The Harry Maguire fitness situation is more complicated.
Maguire has not played since injuring ankle ligaments against Aston Villa on May 9 and was only an unused substitute for United’s shootout defeat by Villarreal in the Europa League Final in Gdansk.
Southgate said: “With any injury it’s impossible to predict 100pc and we are pleased with his progress, particularly over the last couple of days, but we know there’s always that risk.”
England’s players have decided they will continue to take the knee before matches despite booing by a small section of fans before the Austria game. Southgate said: “To change policy now would send out entirely the wrong message.”
Denmark 2 Bosnia-Herzegovina 0
England 1 Romania 0
Luxembourg 0 Scotland 1
Netherlands 3 Georgia 0
Belgium 1 Croatia 0
Austria 0 Slovakia 0
Moldova 1 Azerbaijan 0
Norway 1 Greece 2