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Marcus Rashford tells heartbreaking story of friend's death was the reason for his celebration

Ryan Sidle

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Marcus Rashford tells heartbreaking story of friend's death was the reason for his celebration

Marcus Rashford revealed why he pointed to the sky following his opener against Wales, that helped knock them out of the World Cup.

Ahead of the tournament, Rashford had not been seen in an England shirt since his penalty miss in the final of Euro 2020, having come off the bench.

He was called up to the Nations League squad in October, the last one before the tournament, but had to back out due to injury.

The Manchester United star earned his recall after an impressive start to the current campaign with his club side and he's continued that form for Gareth Southgate's team.

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He took mere seconds to score against Iran in England's opener, coming off the bench to grab the side's fifth in a 6-2 hammering.

The 25-year-old then impressed enough vs USA off the bench, in a relatively poor game for England, to earn himself a start in the final game with Wales.

Rashford certainly proved it was the right decision, with two goals and a hand in the third, as Southgate's side beat their neighbours 3-0, knocking them out of the tournament.

His first was a brilliant free kick in the 50th minute, after a first half in which Harry Maguire's hilarious miss was the highlight, beating Danny Ward at the far post, leading to him taking to his knees and pointing to the sky in celebration.

After the match, he revealed the heartbreaking reason for his celebration, dedicating his goal to a friend who'd passed away just days before the game.

"I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer," the England forward told reporters after the game.

"I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life."

Rashford dedicates his goal. Image: Alamy
Rashford dedicates his goal. Image: Alamy

It has been a difficult few years for the forward, especially when it comes to the national team, with the penalty miss vs Italy the lowest point.

He last started for Southgate against Romania in a pre tournament friendly ahead of the Euros in 2021, only appearing in the tournament as a substitute.

His start in a competitive fixture came in a behind closed doors Nations League game vs Denmark back in 2020, with Harry Maguire and Reece James sent off in the match.

Since then he has gone through a loss of form and confidence, especially at Old Trafford, and looked a shadow of his former self last season.

The hiring of Erik ten Hag for this season has done wonders for him, and he's already bagged eight goals for his club side, and now three for his international team.

Rashford scores his free kick. Image: Alamy
Rashford scores his free kick. Image: Alamy

Having scored the first, it took England just a minute to double their lead against Robert Page's side, who needed to win to go through.

Rashford closed down a defender and won the ball back, Harry Kane got on the end of it and squared it to Phil Foden to knock home.

It took 17 minutes to grab their third with Kalvin Phillips finding Rashford, who beat three challenges to smash low at Danny Ward, who made a hash of the shot and allowed it to go in.

The United forward is currently joint top scorer in the tournament, along with Enner Valencia, Cody Gakpo and Kylian Mbappe.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Football World Cup, England, Marcus Rashford, Wales, Manchester United

Ryan Sidle
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