Marcus Rashford scores a hat-trick at the home of Colchester United
England Under-21s 6 Norway Under-21s 1
Marcus Rashford lived up to his star billing, with a top-notch hat-trick, as Colchester United hosted an entertaining UEFA Under-21s European Qualifier at the Weston Homes Community Stadium tonight.
A crowd of 8,454 turned up to watch England, the leaders of Group Nine, cruise to victory over Norway. Capacity at the Community Stadium is 10,105.
Rashford lit up the first-half with a quality opening goal in the 29th minute, and he added a slick second midway through the second-half, England’s fourth goal of the game, before completing his hat-trick with a penalty.
England’s senior manager, Sam Allardyce, was an interested spectator, and he could not help but be impressed with the Manchester United front-man.
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Fresh from his cameo role in England’s doomed Euro 2016 campaign in France, Rashford thrilled a bumper crowd with his array of skills, and deadly finishing.
He certainly provided good value for money for supporters, most of whom had travelled short distances from across Essex and Suffolk to take advantage of watching England’s potential stars of the future.
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Rashford, of course, is very much a player of the present, and he burst through uncontested to bury a low shot past advancing keeper Sondre Rossbach to break the deadlock in the 29th minute.
Nathaniel Chalobah doubled the lead in the 37th minute, volleying sweetly home from a pinpoint free-kick by Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse.
England were by now in charge, and it was Chelsea front-runner Reben Loftus-Cheek who deservedly got amongst the goalscorers in the 63rd minute, his shot flying in via the inside of the far post.
Rashford obliged with a mesmerising fourth goal, and his second of the evening, on 65 minutes. His deft chip took a deflection as it looped into the roof of the net.
Substitute Ghayas Zahid headed home a consolation goal for the visitors, but normal service soon resumed.
Rashford coolly slotted home a 72nd minute penalty, to complete his hat-trick, and Lewis Baker, on Chelsea’s books, rounded off the scoring by steering home England’s sixth from an 86th minute corner.