By 90Min
June 08, 2018

Gareth Southgate has admitted he has some "serious decisions" to make ahead of England's World Cup opener against Tunisia following their duo of warm-up wins. 

Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck - who is heading to Russia as the squad's highest goalscorer - netted either side of half time during the Three Lions' 2-0 victory over Costa Rica at Elland Road on Thursday evening to round off a pleasing pre-tournament spell. 

And following his side's second successive success, in which he made 10 changes to the lineup that overcame Nigeria at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, the 47-year-old told Sky Sports he has a number of difficult calls to make ahead of the Group G opener on Monday week. 

"It's more difficult and we have some serious decisions to take, but in a good way," he said. "If I was thinking I have nobody to play here or there, it would be a very different situation. We asked the players to give us competition for places and they've done that.

"I'm really pleased with tonight, to make 10 changes and maintain fluidity was great. I think the general patterns and defensive side of the game was good, movement of the ball was good, we looked a threat. We had energy, the first goal was a wonderful, wonderful strike.

"If I look at the three weeks we've had, I couldn't be happier. If you look at the adversity they've faced, it's brought them closer."

Rashford, in particular, shone on a night where England made Costa Rica - a side who finished top of the Three Lions' World Cup group four years ago in Brazil - look distinctly average, and Southgate was pleased with his overall display. 

"For me at the end of the season, he cares so much you can see he was trying too hard," he went on to say. "I did say I expect to see mistakes. If you don't, then you aren't trying too hard.

"The goal was world class but he's teasing defenders - he was enjoying his football which is great to see. I've got 11 or 12 who are going to be difficult to leave out, that's what I said to the players.

"There is genuine competition for places. It wasn't first team against Nigeria and second team today. We have quality across the two line-ups. [Fabian] Delph as a number eight is different to Dele [Alli] as a number eight."

Along with the Manchester United frontman, several other players threw their name into contention for a starting spot in England's opener, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek one in particular. 

"I think that we've changed the way we play so it allows different players to come in," Southgate added. "Ruben is a terrific talent but he's still learning the game but he has so few games he's still raw but we believe in him. He's a super exciting talent and he's different to the players we have."

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