Monday, 20 August, 2018

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope set to make England debut against Costa Rica

Costa Rica finished above England in their 2014 World Cup group Costa Rica finished above England in their 2014 World Cup group
Domingo Copeland | 08 June, 2018, 12:37

The friendly was played just 11 days before the Three Lions' opening World Cup match in Russian Federation against Tunisia.

"It was brilliant", said Southgate.

The link-up play between Loftus-Cheek and Rashford on England's right-hand side, causing problems for Costa Rica's defence with the pair constantly fouled as they formed most of the attack - Loftus-Cheek was fouled more than any other player (five) and also completed 100% of his 34 passes.

Gareth Southgate made 10 changes from the team that beat Nigeria 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday, with John Stones the only man to start both matches. You either select players, or you choose your system and pick the best people to fit into it.

"He had a hard end to the season having to play on his own as a number nine at times".

Southgate made widespread alterations in a bid to test his options and for the most part was rewarded with an encouraging display, with Rashford superbly opening the scoring before Danny Welbeck came off the bench to secure a 2-0 win against underwhelming Costa Rica. I've not got a player in the squad who I would think twice about putting into the opening game of the World Cup.

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However, there was a gulf in class even between Southgate's largely second string line-up and the Central Americans as England dominated.

"I still need to get in the box a bit more to try and finish off some chances from crossing areas, so something to learn from each game".

Southgate held off making any changes until the hour mark and left Harry Kane in reserve for the full 90 minutes as his side continued to control the game after the break.

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope is set to put the cherry on top of his breakthrough season with his England debut on Thursday.

England controlled the encounter from that point on and wrapped up victory with 14 minutes to go when Welbeck met Dele Alli's cross with a diving header into the empty net.

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