Jordan Henderson confident Marcus Rashford will become a key player for England

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Jordan Henderson is confident Marcus Rashford can continue making strides with England and help fill the void left by Jamie Vardy.

With Vardy having stepped away from the international scene following the World Cup and Raheem Sterling injured, Rashford returned to the starting XI in the Nations League defeat to Spain.

The 20-year-old put the Three Lions ahead at Wembley with his fourth international goal but was twice denied by Manchester United team-mate David De Gea in the second half as the visitors sealed a 2-1 win at Wembley.

“We all know how talented Marcus is,” said Henderson.

“His was a great finish. He had another one or two chances that maybe he would have liked to have scored but I thought he looked sharp.

“He was lively and he’s always a threat on the counter-attack. He’s a fantastic young player so he just needs to keep learning, keep improving. He’s a big part of our team.”

Vardy’s decision to effectively retire at the age of 31 – he has indicated he would help in an emergency but has otherwise called time – drew a typically measured response from manager Gareth Southgate.

It has, though, left England short of established senior strikers. Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck was the only centre-forward available from the bench on Saturday night and the likes of Dominic Solanke and Tammy Abraham have not progressed as hoped since being capped by Southgate.

Reflecting on Vardy’s decision, Liverpool skipper Henderson admitted to an element of surprise.

“Yeah, a little bit,” he said. “I know Vards and he’s a robust player. He’s always fit and does not get many injuries. Obviously you’ve got to respect his decision.

“He spoke with the manager and he felt that was the best thing for his career at this moment in time.

“We have got plenty of other good strikers. Welbs came on and he’s been doing fantastically well in training, so hopefully it gives them an opportunity now.”

England will be particularly eager to get back to winning ways when they welcome Switzerland to the King Power Stadium in Tuesday’s friendly.

They were afforded a hero’s homecoming at Wembley, in recognition of their run to the semi-finals of the World Cup but – having lost in the last four to Croatia and to Belgium in the third-place play-off – a positive result is now overdue.

“We still feel confident, but we still feel like we are learning. You want to play against the best teams and the best players to learn from the experiences,” said Henderson.

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I was going to be taken off before scoring France's winner, says Olivier Giroud

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France match-winner Olivier Giroud admits he was aware he was about to be substituted before he scored his landmark goal in the 2-1 Nations League victory over Holland.

In addition to ending his 10-match international drought the 75th-minute strike took him past Zinedine Zidane to third on France’s all-time list with 32 goals.

“I thought I was going to be taken off. The game against Germany was my first of the season as a starter and the coach took me off, which was normal,” said the Chelsea forward, who extended his stay on the pitch by 14 minutes with his goal.

“I suffered again physically today and I realised I didn’t have many minutes left.

“I know Benjamin Mendy’s ability to cross to the near post and I went for it – it worked out well for me and the team. I’m very happy for everyone.”

Ryan Babel looked to have spoiled the World Cup winners’ homecoming party on their first appearance in Paris since the summer success in Russia after his first competitive international goal in 13 years cancelled out Kylian Mbappe’s opener.

Coach Didier Deschamps, whose side now have four points from their opening two matches, accepted the atmosphere would have been very different without Giroud’s intervention.

“The win was the most important thing in order to make this a beautiful party,” he told a press conference.

“I’m very happy for Olivier Giroud. Strikers go through periods when they don’t score as many goals.

“He’s useful to our play and he scored a lovely goal that gave us the win this evening.

“We’re going to savour it. There was a formidable atmosphere this evening and it’s going to carry on for a bit.”

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Joachim Low says Germany were lucky in narrow win over Peru

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Joachim Low insisted Germany did enough to warrant their 2-1 victory over Peru, despite admitting Nico Schulz’s winner was “fortuitous”.

Debutant Schulz’s low drive crept under Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese’s body and into the net as the hosts edged to victory in Sinsheim.

Luis Advincula put Peru ahead with a crisp finish before Juliant Brandt levelled for the hosts before half-time.

Low believes Germany were worthy winners at the Rhein-Neckar Arena as his side fight to rebuild their reputation after the humiliation of failing to pass the summer’s World Cup group stages.

“I am pleased that we won the game, you got the sense during the game that the team really wanted to get the victory,” Low said on the German Football Association’s official website.

“The winning goal was slightly fortuitous, but we also missed plenty of chances in the first half.

“At the end of the day, the goalkeeper should have saved the winning goal. But I’m still really pleased for Nico Schulz, who has made a really good impression on me in training.

“Overall I think we played quite well, without setting the world alight. Every win will do us the world of good though.”

Low thanked German supporters for sticking with both him and his players, especially given the huge disappointment of the World Cup.

“In the second half we didn’t quite get our balance right, which we still need to perfect,” said Low.

“We were a little bit more open at the back in comparison to the first half. We will need a bit more time to make sure our defence is a bit more stable.

“The receptions we’ve received in both Munich (for the 0-0 draw with France) and Sinsheim have been very positive. I believe that the team have understood the fact that we’re under a lot pressure, although the fans have continued to back us.

“We have to carry on working to get that identification with the team back.”

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