Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag will no doubt be pleased with what he’s seen of his international stars at the World Cup thus far, with a handful of the Red Devils’ key men having notably starred during England’s thumping win over Iran on Monday afternoon.
That clash proved particularly important for floundering United skipper, Harry Maguire, with the £80m man – who has started just three Premier League games this season – having looked back to his best in both boxes on the day, with talkSPORT pundit Gabby Agbonlahor notably dubbing the 29-year-old “outstanding” for his all-round performance.
The former Leicester City man was not the only Old Trafford gem to steal the headlines, however, with teammate Marcus Rashford netting just 49 seconds after entering the fray off the bench, showing remarkable composure to calmly caress the ball into the back of the net on his ‘weaker’ left foot.
That strike not only added further gloss to an already impressive scoreline for Gareth Southgate’s side, but it also ensured that the 25-year-old ended his duck at major tournaments at the fourth time of asking, having somewhat redeemed himself following that cruel penalty miss at Euro 2020 last summer.
It was, however, the overall performance of Luke Shaw that particularly caught the eye, with the attacking full-back having looked “at ease” on the world stage, in the words of The Athletic’s, Laurie Whitwell.
Eight years on from earning an inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s travelling party for the disappointing edition in Brazil – featuring in the final group game draw with Costa Rica – the 27-year-old was again involved for the Three Lions on the global arena, showing little sign of nerves in what was a composed outing from his full-back berth.
The former Southampton man notably proved integral to helping steer his side ahead of whipping in an inviting cross for the ever-impressive Jude Bellingham to header home, having posed a constant threat down the left flank, making 126 touches in total.
The “incredible” talent – as described by journalist Casey Evans – did lose possession 20 times in that impressive display, although that was merely a result of his attacking intent, having largely been composed on the ball after recording a pass accuracy rate of 88%, as well as a match rating of 6.9, as per SofaScore.
Such a showing was notably lauded by the Evening Standard’s Nizaar Kinsella, who wrote that the £150k-per-week gem had been a ‘real bright spark‘ for Southgate’s men, with the hope for both his club and country that such form can continue in the coming weeks.