Marcus Rashford became England’s youngest player at a European Championship on Thursday when he broke Wayne Rooney’s record with his substitute appearance in the 2-1 win over Wales.
The teenage Manchester United striker was introduced on 73 minutes of the dramatic Group B encounter in France at the age of 18 years and 228 days – four days younger than his club and international captain Rooney was when he registered his first competition outing at Euro 2004.
After Gareth Bale had opened the scoring for Wales, England later sealed three important points thanks to second-half goals from Rashford’s fellow substitutes Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge.
Speaking after the final whistle, Rooney spoke to the BBC about Rashford’s impressive cameo performance and his Old Trafford team-mate breaking his own long-standing international record.
“He will be delighted,” he said. “I haven’t actually seen the players yet because I have been drug tested, so I am not allowed in the dressing room, but I am sure he is delighted and I am really pleased for him.
“I saw today that it was 112 days ago that he made his debut for Man United and he is now playing on the biggest stage for England. It is a great story and we are all pleased for him.”
On the game itself, which saw England come from behind to win with Rooney producing an influential midfield display, the captain was relieved and felt the Three Lions deserved the result.
“In the first half I think we did OK actually but we just had to move the ball quicker,” he said. “Unfortunately we went 1-0 down and in the second half the manager made some positive changes. It paid off for us. I thought we were fantastic in the second half. We moved the ball and made Wales work hard.
“We kept the ball, kept probing and got the win in the end. We showed a lot of character today and I am sure everyone in the dressing room will be delighted.
“I think we know as a group of players that we are not just an 11-man team; we have got 23 players in our squad who can all play, are all confident and all trust each other to know that whoever is playing will do a good job. It showed today what a good squad we have got with some very exciting players.
“We played some great stuff and it is a great feeling to win the game in the way we did. That will almost qualify us with one game to go and we will have to finish the job off on Monday.”