Man Utd & Man City players star in England’s 7-0 win over North Macedonia at Old Trafford
Manchester’s first England game in 16 years was one to remember for the fans.
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Marcus Rashford marked Old Trafford’s first England game in 16 years by scoring and playing an important role in a 7-0 win over North Macedonia on Monday night.
The comprehensive victory means, halfway through the Three Lions’ qualifying campaign, the team have a 100 percent record from four matches and look in a great position to be in Germany next summer. While Rashford played a significant role in the England triumph, it was Bukayo Saka who was very much the star of the show after he scored a first career hat-trick, while Harry Kane also netted two and Kalvin Phillips was on target.
Southgate included all three Manchester United representatives in his starting line-up - Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Rashford - while Kyle Walker and John Stones of Manchester City were selected from the off, with Kalvin Phillips, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish coming off the bench in the second half.
Maguire, the quietest of the Manchester collective had a good night and stopped an early Stefan Ashkovski shot, while he also had some nice touches going forward. But after getting through an awkward opening 30 minutes, Shaw and Rashford combined down the left with the latter centring the ball to Kane to tap home in front of the Stretford End - a sight United will hope to see more of going forward.
Walker then provided the pass for Saka’s first, while on the stroke of half-time Liverpool and United combined with Henderson passing in to set up Rashford’s goal.
One of the few goals of the night not involving a Manchester-based player came when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s long pass in behind found Saka just after the break, with the Arsenal star then firing past Stole Dimitrievski.
This was England at their best and Gareth Southgate will hope it offers a blueprint of how things will look next summer in Germany. Saka and Rashford were electric out wide, while Declan Rice shielded the back four and Henderson and Alexander-Anrold provided the penetrative runs in behind, with Walker and Shaw supporting from deep.
More goals were inevitable and Kane picked out the run of Saka on 51 minutes as he advanced on goal and calmly slotted in his third of the night. Soon after, a quadruple substitution stemmed the flow somewhat, but Phillips was handed the easiest of tap-ins soon after his introduction, which originated from a Jack Grealish cross into the box.
There was time for one last goal as John Stones was hauled to the ground inside the box and England were awarded a spot-kick. Kane stepped up, just before he was replaced by Callum Wilson on 74 minutes, and fired into the net to round off an incredible night for England’s Manchester-based fans.