Southgate keeps faith in Rashford despite costly misses against Croatia

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The Manchester United forward scored England's first Nations League goal against Spain in September but Southgate's side now trail in the group

Gareth Southgate has no concerns about the form of Marcus Rashford after the England striker wasted two golden opportunities against Croatia.

Rashford, who netted his country’s first-ever Nations League goal against Spain at Wembley in September, was twice gifted the opportunity to steal victory for England in Rijeka, only to be denied by the young Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

Harry Kane, who hasn’t netted for England since converting a penalty in the World Cup last-16 game against Columbia, hit the crossbar with a second-half header, and the result leaves Southgate’s team lagging five points behind group leaders Spain.

“I was really pleased he was in the areas to get those chances and his general performance as the game went on, he looked more and more of a threat,” said Southgate of Rashford.

“He scored twice for us last month and we love him to bits, so he’ll take more of those chances than not.

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“The more important thing for me is we’ve created good chances and the likes of Marcus, Harry and Raheem [Sterling], the forwards we’ve got, they’ll finish them. We’ve just got to make sure we’re creating them.”

Southgate ended a year-long experiment with three central defenders in Rijeka, returning to a back four to enable more flexibility further up the pitch, but aside from Rashford’s chances, England created little.

The manager gave a debut to Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho for the final 12 minutes in a near-empty stadium, but sought to temper expectations of a player who, despite a thrilling start to the season in the Bundesliga, is still in just his second year of first-team football.

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