Fans can watch Friday’s England vs. Australia football match live online and see Manchester United phenom Marcus Rashford make his international debut.
The 18-year-old just played in his first Premier League start a little over three months ago and now is in line to start for England in the team’s international friendly match against Australia on Friday. Rashford played well beyond his years after filling in for the injured Anthony Martial, scoring eight goals in 18 matches. Now he’s starting for England in their tune-up against the Aussies.
The match will take place in Sunderland on Friday, with the start time scheduled for 7:45 p.m. local time.
For Rashford, there will no chance to ease into his first taste of international play. An injury to Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge means that Rashford will likely lead England’s attack.
“There’s no doubt that my initial intention was to choose between Sturridge, Rashford and possibly one other to play up front in the game,” England coach Roy Hodgson said (via ESPNFC). “With those two out, it’s pretty obvious that Rashford is going to play a serious part in the game.”
He added, “And furthermore, if Daniel Sturridge isn’t fit tomorrow then I think you’ll all work out that he is going to start the game as well. I’m happy with that. I am more than content that he will handle that situation.”
Roy Hodgson can't wait to see if Manchester United's teenage star Marcus Rashford can take his big opportunity… https://t.co/XEuajSpFqr— ManUtd_MP (@ManUtd_MP) May 26, 2016
Rashford earned his spot in the starting lineup in part due to a strong performance in Manchester United’s win over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. Hodgson said that Rashford is simply getting too good to be overlooked anymore, the Independent noted.
“I worked hard in the beginning to play down expectations when, after one or two games, people were saying ‘a new genius is born, Hodgosn must take him (Rashford) to France,’” Hodgson said. “I wanted to play down the expectations and demands and at least give him the time to see if he could keep it up over two or three months, and that is what he has done.”
Rashford came from relative obscurity into his Manchester United debut, known mainly to those following the junior circuit closely. Hodgson said they “knew of course that he was in our system” but said it was still a surprise when Rashford’s name appeared on their team-sheet.
Hodgson did his best to downplay the hype surrounding Rashford but said the attention will be inevitable.
“We wanted to avoid headlines after such a meteoric rise, but I can’t do that unless I disguise intentions and I don’t want to do that,” he said. “And at the moment, he looks like starting against Australia.”
Fans who watch the England vs. Australia football match live online will also see some other changes to the England roster. Chelsea center-back Gary Cahill is out with a hip infection, and Wayne Rooney will start from the bench, Hodgson said.
Although Australia comes into Friday’s match as a decided underdog, the Aussies actually defeated England the last time the two teams met in a friendly match — a 3-1 victory back in 2003.
England will have little time to rest after Friday’s match, with another friendly match coming up next week against Portugal. The teams will meet next Thursday at London’s Wembley Stadium at 7:45 p.m.
Starting lineups and formations
England (red shirts; 4-3-3): Forster; Clyne, Smalling, Stones, Bertrand; Henderson, Wilshere, Drinkwater; Townsend, Rashford, Lallana
Australia (yellow shirts; 4-1-2-3): Ryan; Risdon, Wright, Degenek, Smith; Jedinak; Rogic, Mooy; Kruse, Juric, Ikonomidis
[Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images]