Roy Hodgson's trust in Marcus Rashford will be based on his mentality

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One of the biggest games of the Euros group stages ended with a 2-1 victory for England over Wales courtesy of a late Daniel Sturridge goal.

England could have probably been considered the better team over the course of the game, but it looked like the game was going in a very different direction when Gareth Bale scored his second free-kick of the tournament, this one from nearly 40 yards, but it could be argued to be another case of poor goalkeeping.

The goal came just before half-time, which forced Roy Hodgson to make attacking changes, introducing Jamie Vardy and Sturridge immediately after the break. This proved to be a masterclass in tactics, as both players scored the vital goals for England.


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Due to Sturridge's winning goal coming so late in the game, Hodgson had already made his final substitution which was to bring on another striker, in the form of 18-year-old Marcus Rashford.

Bringing on Rashford meant all of England's recognised strikers played some part of the game. It could have been considered a gamble by Hodgson to throw the youngster into such a massive game, which was labelled the battle of Britain, rather than trust in one of his more experienced players, such as Jack Wilshere or James Milner. It seemed especially risky when considering that after Rashford was brought on, England had four strikers playing at the same time.

Hodgson felt he could make the decision to bring on Rashford for two reasons. Firstly, the game was a must win for England, meaning qualification, and the nature of that qualification was in the hands of the players. Hodgson simply needed a goal and chose to bring on another player with the instinct to stick the ball in the back of the net.

The other reason is that Rashford is one of the most level-headed youngsters in the game, at the moment. There seems to be no occasion too big for the Manchester United starlet - he scored twice on his debut followed up by two more on his Premier League debut against none other than United's old rivals Arsenal.

Not even the Manchester derby fazed the young man, who scored the only goal in United's 1-0 victory over Manchester City. On his international debut, it took Rashford only 135 seconds to announce himself to the world.

Rashford has no problem handling the pressure of important matches, and the game against Wales was no different. Although the other players were probably exhausted from battling the Welsh defence, Rashford's touches seemed particularly crisp, his movement intelligent and he looked incredibly comfortable playing at such a high level.

Perhaps Rashford's ability to deal with great expectations is what sets him apart from other young players. People could argue that Rashford isn't the most technically gifted player, he has pace but so do plenty of other youth talents.

Rashford has a unique mental strength for someone his age. His mettle is what sets him apart from the rest and what will push him on with his career for club and country.

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Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Euro 2016
England Football

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