Rashford enjoying 'freedom' of England role

Marcus Rashford felt his fine performance for England against Costa Rica came from playing in a more relaxed manner.

England players celebrate with Marcus Rashford, who scored in England's 2-1 win over Costa Rica on Thursday.   -  Getty Images

Marcus Rashford admitted he tried to "play free" and enjoy his football in England's 2-0 friendly win over Costa Rica.

The Manchester United striker, playing alongside Jamie Vardy in attack, was the star of the first hour at Elland Road and capped his performance with a spectacular 25-yard strike.

The 20-year-old's display seemed in stark contrast to those he delivered for his club for much of 2018, which prompted speculation about his future given his apparent lack of suitability to Jose Mourinho's plans.

Read: Rashford scores stunner in final World Cup warm-up win

And Rashford felt his performance in Thursday's game, in which Danny Welbeck headed in the second goal, was helped by his more carefree approach.

"You work on them in training so, when one comes off in a game, it's the reward you get," he told ITV when asked about his stunning goal.

"I'm happy with the game and the result. I feel like we're in good physical form.

"I just tried to play free and enjoy myself. It's good practice for what we need in the tournament."

Manager Gareth Southgate was delighted with the "swagger" Rashford displayed and suggested he lost some confidence playing as United's main striker towards the end of the season.

"What pleased me most is that Marcus Rashford enjoyed his football," he told ITV. "He played with a real swagger.

"I thought his link-up was good. It was a wonderful strike for the goal and he worked incredibly hard for the team.

"He had a difficult end to the season, having to play on his own as a number nine at times. He is still filling out. We sometimes forget how old he is."

Rashford now wants England to head to Russia with the belief that they can spring a surprise during the World Cup.

"It means a lot to be involved but going and hopefully playing a major part is my main aim," he added.

"The games are just to showcase ourselves to the fans how far we've come. We know in training how far we've come.

"Anything is possible. We have to go with the highest expectations."

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :