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Southgate admits England man jumped the gun – ‘We will pull rank next time’

England boss Gareth Southgate admitted the one sour point in their victory over Romania will be rectified if the situation arises again.

England secured back-to-back victories from their two Euro 2020 warm up games to leave them in good shape heading into the tournament. The hosts created the bulk of the game’s opportunities, but had to settle for a Marcus Rashford penalty to seal the contest.

The lead could’ve been doubled, but Jordan Henderson saw a second spot kick saved in the one disappointment from England’s perspective.

Several of England’s squad players shone throughout, notable Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sam Johnstone.

The Everton centre-forward proved a handful for Romania’s backline from first minute to last, while Johnstone made a spectacular save to preserve England’s advantage late on.

Speaking to ITV after the match, Southgate said: “Yes, we had chances to make it more comfortable but so did they.

MATCH REPORT: Vintage Grealish moment lifts England past Romania as debutant shines

“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. Good to win.”

When pressed on whether the impressive Jack Grealish will start versus Croatia, Southgate refused to commit: “We have a lot of competition in those areas of the field and he has had a important contribution to win the penalty. He is in the frame with several others.”

Henderson’s penalty miss soured the occasion, and Southgate admitted he was surprised to see the Liverpool man take the kick.

Penalty saved! @JHenderson steps up from the spot… but Nita keeps the @England midfielder’s penalty out #ITVFootball | #ThreeLions

— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 6, 2021

“We had Marcus Rashford on penalties then James Ward-Prowse but both came off. We expected Dominic Calvert-Lewin to take it and I was expecting Hendo to go over to him and let him take it. We will pull rank next time.”

When asked who will replace Trent Alexander-Arnold in the squad, Southgate again kept his cards close to his chest: “We just want to check how we are after the game medically, check we have nothing to go through and will make the decision over the next 24 hours. I will keep my powder dry for now.”

Rashford on Grealish’s potential; addresses fan boos

Captain on the day Rashford also spoke to the press, telling ITV: “It is definitely a great moment for me (being captain).

“It is something you dream of when you are a kid. Today I accomplished that. It was difficult. We had to stick together and work. It was challenging defensively. But we created a lot of chances. We did well from set-pieces both attacking and defensively. Ultimately that is what won us the game.”

On the contributions of Grealish who won the penalty Rashford converted: “Jack is a great player. He will grow and grow in an England shirt. We know what he can do.

“It is about us all working so that he can realise that potential in an England shirt. We will win more games with him in the team.”

On fans booing players taking the knee: “It is something that we cannot control. For sure, we believe it is the right thing to do so we will continue to do it.”

When asked about England’s Euro 2020 chances, Rashford added: “We have to have that self-belief and self-confidence. But we know if we want to win the tournament we have to improve. We will keep our heads down and keep working.”

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