Gareth Southgate has no concern about calling upon Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka to take a penalty in a shootout at the World Cup.
The pair were among a trio of players to miss from the spot in the European Championship final defeat to Italy last year, along with Jadon Sancho, who was not selected for the tournament in Qatar.
Rashford has been a fine performer for Southgate’s side, scoring a trio of goals to sit joint-top of the scoring charts, while Saka netted a brace in the demolition of Iran in the opening group match.
Now into the knockout stage, with a round of 16 tie against Senegal on the horizon, the prospect of penalties continues to be a talking point – particularly regarding who could be called upon.
Asked if he had any reservations about either Rashford or Saka stepping up in a shootout, Southgate said: “None at all.
“Marcus’ stats would be among the best in the world on penalty taking, and Bukayo is now taking them more regularly with his club. They’re both in a good space with that.”
3 – Marcus Rashford is the first Manchester United player to score three goals at a major tournament for England since Bobby Charlton at the 1966 World Cup. Devils.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)
In the World Cup in Russia, Southgate introduced players, including Rashford, off the bench in order to take penalties but was criticised for the same approach against Italy – with Rashford and Sancho both missing after their late introductions.
Southgate defended that tactic and hinted that similar moves could be made in the future, if required.
“In terms of the changes, Marcus came on as a sub in Moscow and took a penalty four or five minutes earlier than we put him on at Wembley,” he added.
“I’ve seen lots of teams do that and scored, and it’s the right thing. If you don’t then it’s wrong.
“We’ve got to stick with our processes, give ourselves the best percentages of winning, and we feel we are very well prepared.
“We’ve won two, we’ve lost the last one. We’ve refined some of those things we didn’t think were quite right. We feel that the process is good.”