Marcus Rashford reveals the meaning behind his celebration
'I'm pleased I managed to score for him'
Marcus Rashford has revealed that his first goal in England's 3-0 win over Wales on Tuesday was dedicated to a friend who recently passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Rashford scored twice as England sealed their place in the World Cup knockout stages with a comfortable victory. After opening the scoring with a free-kick early in the second half, he was seen dropping to his knees and pointing to the sky.
Speaking to the media after the game, the Manchester United forward explained the celebration was for his friend, Garfield Hayward, who died only days before the game.
"Unfortunately I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago," he said.
"He's had quite a long battle with cancer, so I'm pleased I managed to score for him.
"He's always been a big supporter of mine. He was just a great person and I'm pleased he came into my life, really."
Southgate on Rashford
Gareth Southgate said he was unaware that Rashford had lost his friend before the game started, but shed light on the 25-year-old's journey back into the England team after injury and a dip in form caused him to be overlooked for international duty in the months leading up to the tournament in Qatar.
"It's been a challenge for him," he admitted. "I went and saw him in the summer, had a long chat with him and he had some clear ideas on things that he felt he needed to think about and to do.
"He could have had a hat-trick, really, with the chance in the first half and then the one at the near post towards the end.
"But great for him and because it's great for him it's great for us."
England's victory saw them confirmed as Group B winners with the United States coming second after they beat Iran. The Three Lions will now face Senegal in the last-16 after the African nation reached the knockout stages with a nervy 2-1 victory over Ecuador earlier on Tuesday.
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