February 28, 2024


Exercise makes us healthy

England 1-0 Romania: Marcus Rashford scores from penalty spot

England's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ben Godfrey get up for a header in the box against Romania
England have won six games in a row since losing to Belgium in the Nations League in November 2020
Dates: Friday 11 June-Sunday 11 July. Host cities: London, Rome, Munich, Baku, St Petersburg, Budapest, Seville, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Glasgow, Copenhagen. Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 Live, iPlayer and BBC Sport website. Click here for more details

England concluded their preparations for the Euros with victory over Romania in a friendly at the Riverside Stadium.

Manager Gareth Southgate once again selected an experimental starting line-up which included three players – Ben Godfrey, Ben White and James Ward-Prowse – who were not named in his 26-man squad for Euro 2020.

There was a mixed reaction to England’s players continuing to take the knee before kick-off, loud jeering being matched by applause as Southgate insisted they will continue to take this public stand against racial injustice.

England posed the greater attacking threat, with both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jadon Sancho hitting the woodwork in the first half, before Marcus Rashford put them ahead from the penalty spot in the 68th minute after Jack Grealish, inevitably, was fouled by Tiberiu Capusa.

It was the perfect way to mark Rashford being given the captain’s armband, making him youngest black player to lead England at 23 years and 218 days.

West Bromwich Albion keeper Sam Johnstone won his first England cap and gave a very sound performance, the highlight of which was a magnificent reaction save from Andre Ivan.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson gave Southgate a lift when he appeared at half-time for his first action since 20 February – although he did not cover himself in glory when he saw his late penalty saved by keeper Florin Nita after Calvert-Lewin was fouled by Vlad Chiriches.

Grealish England’s catalyst again

Grealish continues to make an eloquent case for inclusion in England’s starting line-up when they launch their Euros campaign against Croatia at Wembley in seven days.

In a patchy England display, Grealish was once again the brightest attacking spark, creating as well as drawing fouls in dangerous positions throughout.

And it was on one trademark raid into the area that he drew the foul that delivered England their match-winning penalty, giving Southgate and his players the confidence of a second successive victory in this friendly double header on Teesside after Wednesday’s win against Austria.

England will have a series of big hitters, led by captain Harry Kane, back against a wily Croatia side, but Grealish has certainly given Southgate plenty of food for thought in these two games – he has the “X Factor” that can make an impact on big games and switch the emphasis in major tournaments.

Jack Grealish in action for England against Romania
Jack Grealish was making his seventh appearance for England

Southgate must now decide whether this is an impact best made from the start or from the bench, with the likes of Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Chelsea’s Champions League winner Mason Mount to also factor into the equation.

Has Henderson shown enough?

Southgate was keen to see Henderson get minutes on the pitch after being absent for so long following groin surgery, especially after he withdrew from the Austria game reporting some discomfort.

It was no surprise to see Henderson introduced at the start of the second half for Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips.

Henderson looked energetic enough, although the sedate pace of this friendly will be a far cry from the heat of competitive battle against Croatia when the Euros get under way.

Sunday, 13 June Croatia 14:00
Friday, 18 June Scotland 20:00
Tuesday, 22 June Czech Republic 20:00

He got himself involved in the action late on when he appeared to pull rank on Calvert-Lewin to take England’s second penalty after the Everton striker had been fouled.

Calvert-Lewin has already scored convincingly from the spot for England, in their win over the Republic Of Ireland at Wembley in November, but Henderson decided the responsibility was his – a poor decision as his spot-kick was unconvincing and at a comfortable height for Nita to save.

It had no impact on the final outcome and of more significance to Southgate will be how Henderson has come through his long-awaited return to action.

Even if Henderson reports no ill-effects, it would still represent a major gamble by Southgate to start him given his lack of competitive action.

‘We did not work hard enough’

England boss Gareth Southgate, speaking to ITV: “We had chances to make it more comfortable but so did they, 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. It was good to win.”

What’s next?

All thoughts now turn to next Sunday and England’s opening game of Euro 2020 against Croatia at Wembley (14:00 BST).

Select your England XI to start Euro 2020

Player of the match

GrealishJack Grealish


  1. Squad number1Player nameNita

  2. Squad number14Player nameHagi

  3. Squad number23Player nameStanciu

  4. Squad number24Player nameSorescu

  5. Squad number18Player nameMarin

  6. Squad number9Player nameIvan

  7. Squad number8Player nameCicaldau

  8. Squad number7Player nameAlibec

  9. Squad number5Player nameNedelcearu

  10. Squad number6Player nameChiriches

  11. Squad number22Player nameCamora

  12. Squad number17Player namePaun

  13. Squad number20Player nameBudescu

  14. Squad number25Player nameBaluta

  15. Squad number2Player nameCapusa

  16. Squad number4Player nameRus



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Johnstone
  • 2Godfrey
  • 6White
  • 5Mings
  • 3ShawSubstituted forTrippierat 75′minutes
  • 8Ward-ProwseSubstituted forRiceat 65′minutes
  • 4PhillipsSubstituted forHendersonat 45′minutes
  • 7SanchoSubstituted forBellinghamat 65′minutes
  • 10Grealish
  • 11RashfordSubstituted forLingardat 75′minutes
  • 9Calvert-LewinSubstituted forWatkinsat 82′minutes


  • 12Trippier
  • 13Pickford
  • 14Coady
  • 16Henderson
  • 17Lingard
  • 18Watkins
  • 19Bellingham
  • 20Kane
  • 21Rice
  • 22Ramsdale
  • 23Henderson


Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Nita
  • 24SorescuSubstituted forCapusaat 66′minutes
  • 6Chiriches
  • 5NedelcearuSubstituted forRusat 84′minutes
  • 22Malino Paulino
  • 18Marin
  • 9IvanBooked at 58mins
  • 23Stanciu
  • 8CicaldauSubstituted forBudescuat 80′minutes
  • 17PaunSubstituted forBalutaat 80′minutes
  • 7AlibecSubstituted forHagiat 66′minutes


  • 2Capusa
  • 3Ganea
  • 4Rus
  • 10Maxim
  • 11Morutan
  • 12Vlad
  • 14Hagi
  • 16Iacob
  • 20Budescu
  • 21Olaru
  • 25Baluta

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