Manchester United’s teenage striker Marcus Rashford was handed his senior England debut tonight and it didn’t take him long to make an impact.
If Rashford appeared hesitant as he stood to observe the national anthem, there was no trace of nerves as soon as he got the chance to show his pedigree on the pitch.
Fans were still filing in when England broke sharply down the left and Ryan Bertrand picked out the 18-year-old.
Rashford neatly played in the overlapping Raheem Sterling but instinctively held back his onward run.
Sterling’s cross ricocheted off the first man and sat up perfectly for Rashford, who volleyed past Matthew Ryan at the near post with two minutes and 18 seconds on the clock.
It was fairy-tale stuff, as he became his country’s third youngest scorer behind Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, and youngest ever on debut.
He celebrated almost bashfully, as his team-mates leapt in joy and Rooney smiled broadly from the bench.
A nervy start at the back, during which Fraser Forster had smashed an under-sold back pass from Smalling into Jamie Maclaren but luckily escaped was instantly forgotten.