Marcus Rashford says beating Belgium proves England can match the top sides

Marcus Rashford believes England’s Nations League victory over Belgium proved to the players they have what it takes to beat the top international sides.

The Three Lions came back from a goal down to beat Belgium – ranked number one in the world – 2-1.

Rashford equalised from the penalty spot after his former Manchester United team-mate Romelu Lukaku had opened the scoring for the visitors at an empty Wembley with his spot-kick.

England were second best for periods of the match but emerged victorious courtesy of Mason Mount’s deflected strike just after the hour.

The result means Gareth Southgate’s side now sit top of Group A2 heading into Wednesday’s visit of Denmark and Rashford thinks beating the likes of Belgium gives added belief to the squad moving foreward.

“It is definitely a nice feeling,” he said.

“It is something we have had to prove to ourselves – that we can actually go on and beat these teams.

“Too many times we’ve drawn or just fallen short and been beaten against the best teams but we managed to get over that line and it is a massive win for us, it will do a lot for us.”

Rashford’s goal and the subsequent win ended a fine individual week for the 22-year-old, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours List for his efforts in helping secure free meals for vulnerable children during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a obviously a great feeling,” he told beIN Sports.

“(It is) a really proud moment, it has capped off a nice week and for me now it is just about going to win the last game.”

Asked whether his goal was a good reply to detractors of his award who told the forward to concentrate solely on his football, Rashford replied: “For me it is just about doing as well as you can on the pitch.

“It comes down to just working hard, there are games when you don’t play as well as you want to like the first-half but we dug deep and found a way to win the game.”

Southgate named an initial 30-man squad for the two Nations League games and the 3-0 friendly win over Wales last week.

Four players made their debuts against Ryan Giggs’ side while the likes of Kyle Walker and Mount vindicated their selection in the win over Belgium.

Mason Mount (centre) saw his deflected strike earn England victory over the best-ranked team in the world.
Mason Mount (centre) saw his deflected strike earn England victory over the best-ranked team in the world.

“It is brilliant, the relationship between the lads,” Rashford said on competition for places.

“Every time we come together there are new players and I think Gareth and the staff have made it an easy place to integrate and come together.

“It is great the change and the shift in the last two or three years and credit to the players and staff for that.

“It is important to always have those challenges as a squad and it is important to keep pushing each other.”