Paul Dunne holds off Rory McIlroy to win British Masters and first Tour title

Paul Dunne celebrates after chipping in at the 18th hole to win the British Masters at Close House on Sunday.
 Paul Dunne celebrates after chipping in at the 18th hole to win the British Masters at Close House on Sunday. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Paul Dunne’s first European Tour title would have been notable enough without the Irishman posting a closing round of 61 and seeing off Rory McIlroy to claim the British Masters. This marked quite a way to deliver on long‑heralded promise.

McIlroy’s attempt to end 2017 with at least one victory remains alive but only in respect of one event; he will shut down for the year after the Dunhill Links Championship next weekend. Even a closing 36 holes comprising only 127 shots, a record for McIlroy as a professional, was not sufficient to deny the nerveless Dunne.

The 24-year-old, who shot to prominence as an amateur at the 2015 Open Championship, has endured a frustrating time when seeking to make his name in the professional ranks. Dunne was denied his maiden win in April when Edoardo Molinari defeated him in a play-off in Morocco. At Close House there was no such trouble; Dunne’s three-stroke success, at 20 under, was capped by a chip-in from off the 18th green. McIlroy could only look on and applaud.

“I had a couple of chances to win earlier in the year and didn’t really press the accelerator when I needed to,” Dunne said. “So I woke up this morning and said to myself I was going to try and win this thing rather than let anyone hand it to me.”

A glance back to the Hassan Trophy triggered a Dunne smile. “I think Edoardo finished birdie-eagle to get into the play-off so I was kind of waiting for the scoreboard here to show a McIlroy hole in one at the last.”

Dunne will pocket €562,500 for his effort but the bigger picture relates to a move into the world’s top 100 ranked players and an incentive, surely, to push for a spot in Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup team.

McIlroy started the final day two off the lead, then held by Robert Karlsson, with his chances apparently remote when only two under for the day after 11 holes. But he played the closing stretch in minus five.

“It was just nice to have a chance to win a golf tournament again,” McIlroy said. “That was a big thing for me. The more chances I have like that, I think the better I play and the better I focus. I’m really happy with how I played. I don’t feel as if I could have done much more. Some weeks close to your best isn’t quite good enough.”

“At the turn I thought if I could play the back nine in four under I would have a chance at 17 under par so I did everything that I wanted to do. For Paul to shoot 61 to win his first tour event is incredibly impressive. And it is well deserved; I know how hard he works. Any time I am on the range, on the putting green or chipping, Paul is always out there working on his game.”

“I’m really happy with how I played. I don’t feel as if I could have done much more. Some weeks , close to your best isn’t quite good enough.”

Karlsson finished third at 16 under. Ian Poulter closed with a 70 to share 11th, with Lee Westwood’s Sunday 69 earning him a tie for 15th.

Australia go for blend of youth and experience for Rugby League World Cup

Melbourne bolter Felise Kaufusi has been confirmed as one of seven Storm players named in Australia’s 24-man squad for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup. Kaufusi is one of six rookies included by coach Mal Meninga, with Melbourne team-mates Cameron Munster and Jordan McLean also selected.

Uncapped trio Dane Gagai, Wade Graham and Tom Trbojevic are in the squad as well. Billy Slater returns three years after his most recent appearance in the green and gold, while NSW State of Origin skipper Boyd Cordner has been appointed Cameron Smith’s deputy.

The most glaring omissions were Blues pair Josh Jackson and James Tedesco, the latter of whom scored a hat trick in the traditional Prime Minster’s XIII match two weeks ago. Incumbent winger Blake Ferguson was also dropped due to form.

The Kaufusi selection is the biggest surprise, however Meninga insists the Storm second-rower deserved recognition for an outstanding season with the NRLpremiers.

“Breakout year, on the verge of making Origin this year, 18th man for Queensland, outstanding back end of the year,” Meninga said of Kaufusi. “Combinations, cohesions with Cooper [Cronk] and Will Chambers on that right edge for the Storm. He’s a big body, can play in the middle, he helps balance the footy team out.”

Meninga also said it was difficult to pick Tedesco, who is now likely to turn out for Italy, ahead of Slater, Darius Boyd and the more versatile Trbojevic and Gagai.

“We’ve got a great array of fullbacks playing our competition at the moment and we’ve got the Clive Churchill fullback in Billy Slater. He had a terrific Origin series,” Meninga said.

“We’ve got the incumbent in Darius Boyd; never lost a Test match in the green and gold jersey. There was just such a difficult decision but I think it come down to the versatility and around the ability to play a number of positions.”

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The only omitted player Meninga called was Ferguson. “Obviously he was clearly upset. He’s been a great player for the green and gold but I had to be honest with him around his form and he accepted that. We move on,” he said.

Boyd’s selection is subject to a medical clearance, with Josh Mansour on standby.

The Kangaroos’ gather in Sydney on Thursday before departing for an exhibition match against Papua New Guinea and Fiji on 14 October. Their first World Cup game is against England on 27 October.

Australia squad: Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Boyd Cordner (vice captain), Cooper Cronk, Josh Dugan, Andrew Fifita, Tyson Frizell, Dane Gagai, Matt Gillett, Wade Graham, Valentine Holmes, Ben Hunt, Felise Kaufusi, David Klemmer, Josh McGuire, James Maloney, Jordan McLean, Michael Morgan, Cameron Munster, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith (captain), Jake Trbojevic, Tome Trbojevic, Aaron Woods.

Ronald Koeman given time to solve the Everton crisis he largely created

Ronald Koeman makes a point to his Everton players during the 1-0 defeat against Burnley at Goodison Park
 Ronald Koeman makes a point to his Everton players during the 1-0 defeat against Burnley at Goodison Park. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt/Getty Images

From the biggest investment in Everton’s history to a vote of confidence in the manager by 2 October: this season was always liable to test Ronald Koeman’s managerial skills, given the number of new faces, the sale of Romelu Lukaku and a punishing schedule, but few would have anticipated him floundering so badly, so quickly. It is he, not Everton, who must implement change during the international break.

The Dutchman retains the “total support” of Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s major shareholder, and the 54-year-old should have time to correct the malaise that has gripped Goodison Park when he is largely but not entirely responsible for the team’s regression. It is also important for Moshiri to demonstrate that faith and patience in a manager, a consistent theme of Bill Kenwright’s ownership, has not become prone to regular upheaval since he came on board. Not that the billionaire’s statement to Sky Sports’ Jim White was without flaws.

Moshiri blamed injuries, European exertions, mental and physical fatigue plus a tough fixture list for a run of form that has left Everton two points above the relegation zone. Sunday brought a fifth defeat in eight matches as Burnley executed Sean Dyche’s game plan to perfection. The “only unexpected loss”, said Moshiri, leaving the unfortunate impression that defeats against Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United were not, despite having spent almost £140m on seven additions to the first-team squad this summer. It may have been diplomatically prudent for Moshiri but it would be inaccurate to exclude Koeman from the list of reasons for Everton’s toils.

Stubborn, confusing team selections have produced consistently laboured and passive performances this season. A lack of pace, balance and threat has been a recurring theme of an Everton team who veer between defeated and dull. There was no width in the Europa League draw against Apollon Limassol last Thursday. Koeman had three wide players, Nikola Vlasic, Kevin Mirallas and Ademola Lookman, on the bench. Worryingly for the manager, when he tried to rectify the issues by starting Oumar Niasse and Vlasic against Burnley it yielded the same failing.

Again, however, his decisions contributed to another subdued display and underlined his tendency to dispense with the easy option – young homegrown talents such as Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny – while favouring signings he pushed for. Morgan Schneiderlin, Ashley Williams and Gylfi Sigurdsson have struggled, although Everton’s £45m record signing has been isolated on the left after a pre-season spent pushing for a move from Swansea City. “Both of us like to play more centrally,” Sigurdsson told a Sunday newspaper before the Burnley game. The other player he was referring to was Wayne Rooney, who has also had limited opportunities in a central role and paid the price for the team’s failings with a substitute’s role on Sunday.

Rooney contradicted Koeman last week when insisting a lack of confidence was not the root of Everton’s problems. The manager had claimed otherwise when accusing his players of being afraid to play football in the costly 2-2 draw against Apollon. His new-look team have certainly appeared inhibited as they attempt to gel, only for poor results to provoke a change in approach by the manager, who told Everton to play more direct on Sunday.

Michael Keane, one of the players who has suffered a loss of confidence according to Koeman, said: “I think everyone expected more than we have given so far: the players and the staff, not just the fans. We know we have been disappointing as a team and need to improve. Expectations from fans are one thing but the main thing is what we expect of ourselves and in a few games this season we have fallen below those standards.

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“I did not think that was the case

Jim Crowley: ‘Racing is a tough game. I saw a friend of mine killed in front of me’

“Racing is a brilliant game but it’s very tough. That’s why it’s important not to get above your station and appreciate what you have,” Jim Crowley says as he reflects on his rise from being a journeyman over jumps to becoming Flat racing’s champion jockey while seeing death and paralysis on the track.

Crowley has reached an even higher level this year. Apart from the increased prestige and excellent horses he now rides as the principal jockey for Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum, Crowley won three Grade One races over the summer to record the most significant victories of his long and unusual career. Crowley has confronted disappointment and savoured glory – but he has witnessed racing tragedy. It helps explain why the 39-year-old is so approachable and philosophical in the hard-edged world of Flat racing.

Last October at Ascot, his favourite track and the one just across the road from where he was born, Crowley was crowned champion jockey. He had won 148 out of 759 races and his gaunt features and sunken eyes were markers of his gruelling commitment.

Sixteen days later Crowley was involved in a terrible fall at Kempton. He was concerned in the immediate aftermath that he might be paralysed. But it was the fate of Freddy Tylicki to be desperately unlucky. Tylicki’s horse, Nellie Deen, collided with the leader and went down. Three other horses followed – including Crowley on Electrify.

Both jockeys were treated on the track for an hour and placed on spinal boards before being airlifted to a major trauma unit. Tylicki suffered a T7 paralysis which has robbed him of all movement in his lower body. A wheelchair has replaced the horses he loved to ride. Crowley’s racing, meanwhile, has hit fresh heights.

Two weeks after Tylicki’s catastrophic fall, Crowley received a career-changing invitation to become Sheikh Hamdan’s No1 jockey. He immediately accepted the glittering opportunity and, like his great contemporaries Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore, Crowley sacrificed his championship defence and chose quality over quantity. This mature strategy has produced exceptional results and over six weeks in July and August Crowley won the Eclipse Stakes, Sussex Stakes and Juddmonte International. But darker memories of Kempton remain.

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“It was like a normal day of racing but another horse came in on top of Freddy’s horse and clicked heels,” Crowley remembers. “We all came down in a big melee. I had no feeling all down my left side so I thought it could be serious. You’re kept very still so I wasn’t aware of how bad Freddy was. It was not until we got to the hospital that we realised the severity.”

Crowley looks up and, gently, shakes his head. “It’s awful because he’s a friend of mine. You ride together and when you see one of your colleagues hurt like that it puts life in perspective. I see Freddy as often as I can when I go to Newmarket. But in our job you have to be tough. Otherwise, if you thought about that accident too much you wouldn’t be able to ride.”

Barcelona in the strange and symbolic eye of a storm over Catalonia

Barcelona’s game against Las Palmas takes place behind closed doors at the Camp Nou.
 Barcelona’s game against Las Palmas takes place behind closed doors at the Camp Nou. Photograph: Aflo/Rex/Shutterstock

At every Camp Nou game for almost six years now, chants for Catalan independence have gone up when the clock reaches 17 minutes and 14 seconds, commemorating the year the city fell to Felipe V, but not this time – not on the day they were perhaps closer to independence than ever before. This time, Europe’s largest stadium was silent. No fans could be heard, only footballers. Occasionally, the referee’s whistle rang out or somebody clapped yet there were no chants, no songs and no one to sing them. At the side of the pitch where Barcelona played Las Palmas, stewards in orange bibs lined up to keep an eye on stands that had no one in them. Ninety-eight thousand seats sat empty; barely a couple of hundred people were there, and many of those wished they weren’t.

It was late Sunday morning when Barcelona’s international defender Gerard Piqué voted in the referendum on independence called by the Catalan government and declared illegal by the Spanish government and the constitutional courts. He, like many others, had insisted he would vote anyway so he had done, shaking hands with staff at the polling station, smiling and setting off for the stadium. But while that scene was repeated in many places it wasn’t the case everywhere and by the time he left the Camp Nou seven hours later, there were tears in his eyes. So much had happened and so much more could still happen, a future uncertain and scary. Barcelona had won 3-0 but Piqué called it the worst day of his career and the worst thing the state had done in 50 years.

“The images speak for themselves,” he said. They had gone around the world: pictures of violence and pictures of the stadium, surreal and still, gates closed in protest, fans standing outside looking through the bars as the match was played before a television audience of millions and an actual audience of substitutes, coaches, physios, cameramen, journalists and stadium staff. “Strange,” Sergio Busquets called it. Symbolic too – which this game was always likely to be, just not like this.

They say sport and politics shouldn’t mix, by which they tend to mean other people’s politics. It’s a line Spain’s secretary of state for sport has used, and one Espanyol manager Quique Sánchez Flores repeated on Sunday night after his side were defeated 2-0 at the Bernabéu, where the 12th minute saw Spain flags unfurled and a rendition of Y Viva España in response to the referendum. “I’m not going to mix politics or sport or take part in this show,” he said, but sport and politics do mix, especially with Barcelona, who the Marxist writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán described as the “symbolic unarmed army of Catalonia”.

That identification with Catalonia, while nuanced, shifting, unevenly embraced, sometimes vague and often problematic, is part of what gives Barça an explicitly socio-political dimension. It comes together, of course, in the slogan: mes que un club, more than a club. And that meant this was always going to be more than a match even if in the end it was less than one.

Harry Winks earns England call-up after Fabian Delph and Phil Jones withdraw

Harry Winks has been called into the England squad after impressing for Tottenham Hotspur in recent games.
 Harry Winks has been called into the England squad after impressing for Tottenham Hotspur in recent games. Photograph: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Gareth Southgate has called up Harry Winks for the first time after losing Fabian Delph and Phil Jones to injury for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania.

The Tottenham midfielder, who has made only one Premier League start this season, will take part in his first training session with the senior squad on Tuesday at St George’s Park, stepping up from Aidy Boothroyd’s Under-21 squad after only one cap.

Winks has made seven club appearances this season and began two of Tottenham’s last three games in all competitions – the recent victories over Apoel Nicosia and Huddersfield Town – having recovered from ankle ligament damage sustained in April.

The 21-year-old was described last week as “the perfect midfielder” by his club manager, Mauricio Pochettino. In effect he replaces Manchester City’s Delph, who has actually been excelling at left-back in recent matches. Delph has withdrawn from Southgate’s squad with a muscle strain.

Jones returns to Manchester United for treatment on his own complaint, though like Delph he had been able to complete a full 90 minutes in the Premier League this weekend.

Their departures leave Southgate with 24 players from which to choose against Slovenia, when a win will secure qualification for the World Cup, with Dele Alli suspended for Thursday’s game at Wembley.

The Football Association has confirmed the qualifier against Slovenia will go ahead irrespective of a tube strike planned for that day.

Members of Aslef have announced plans for a 24-hour walkout on the London Underground, starting at midnight on Thursday, with the FA having organised shuttle buses from central London. They have also indicated they any supporters unable to attend the game as a result will be automatically refunded within 28 days.

Australia quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood on track for Ashes

Australia paceman Mitchell Starc
 Mitchell Starc will play Sheffield Shield cricket in the build up to the Ashes series. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images

Three of Australia’s so-called “big four” fast bowling weapons are expected to be fit and firing in time to launch an all-out assault on the Ashes with Mitchell Starc named to return for NSW on Friday in the domestic one-day competition for his first match since June.

The left-arm paceman has recovered from the foot injuries that cut short his Test tour of India in March and hampered his Champions Trophy campaign. And, after shouldering a heavy workload in a gruelling series on the subcontinent, Pat Cummins, who has been rested for the T20 internationals against India, is targeting NSW’s three Sheffield Shield matches leading up to the Ashes.

Australian bowling coach David Saker confirmed Starc and Josh Hazlewood would also play first-class cricket before the series with England. “Whether the fast bowlers play all three of those we’ll wait and see,” Saker said. “Three Shield games to shape the Australian team – it’s going to be good for everybody.”

Fitness appears to be the only thing standing in the way of Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Nathan Lyon being picked as the Australian bowlers for the first Test in Brisbane. Victorian spearhead James Pattinson is still recovering from his latest setback.

“Three of them we know are on track,” Saker said. “James Pattinson’s had a little setback but we’re not sure how bad at the moment. Josh Hazlewood is on track to play the first Test. Mitchell Starc’s going really well and Patty’s obviously flying.”

Things are less clear on the batting front. The No6 spot is up for grabs, with incumbent Glenn Maxwell on shaky ground after being dropped during the ODI series in India. Matthew Wade’s position as wicketkeeper is also far from safe and he will be desperate for runs when he returns home to play for Tasmania this season.

“The players that play the first three Shield games, if they put their hand up they’re a chance to grab a spot,” Saker said. “You think the incumbents would be first chance but I think if some people put some good runs on the board there’s a chance for someone else.”

Castleford’s Daryl Powell: favourites tag means nothing in Grand Final

Castleford came top of the Super League but coach Daryl Powell says that is irrelevant for Saturday’s Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos.
 Castleford came top of the Super League but their coach, Daryl Powell, says that is irrelevant for Saturday’s Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA

Castleford have been the form team all season but their coach denies favouritism will make any difference in the club’s first Super League Grand Final.

It is first versus second on Saturday evening as Castleford face Leeds but Daryl Powell said the Tigers’ priority was “turning up and playing” at Old Trafford, regardless of which side was favourite.

Castleford finished 10 points clear of Leeds in the regular season and Danny McGuire, the Rhinos captain, said on Monday he felt the Tigers were favourites. But Powell took a different approach.

“I’m not really bothered who are favourites,” said the Tigers’ coach, whose only previous Grand Final experience was as a player for Leeds in the inaugural Grand Final in 1998. “I don’t think it matters one way or the other.

“It’s just toilet roll, really. It’ll get flushed away and mean nothing. It’s all about turning up and playing, whether we’re favourites or not won’t change it. It’s how we handle Old Trafford.”

Castleford face a Rhinos side aiming for their eighth Grand Final win in 13 years, and the Rugby Football League has revealed the event is likely to sell out for only the second time in the 20-year history of Super League – the first being two years ago when Leeds beat Wigan.

Roger Draper, the Super League executive director, confirmed on Monday that ticket sales had exceeded 60,000, with the RFL hopeful of announcing a sellout as early as Thursday.

Both coaches reported they are close to finalising their sides for the game but Leeds have been dealt a blow with news that their England forward Stevie Ward will miss out with a shoulder injury. Castleford’s only selection matter is whether to bring back the forward Oliver Holmes.

In an attempt to ensure the Tigers are ready for their first appearance at Old Trafford, Powell took his entire squad to Manchester on Monday for an overnight stay to help settle their nerves. “It felt smart to do it. We’ll stay overnight, have a meal together and get a feel for it all before coming over properly for the day of the game on Saturday.”

Warrington, meanwhile, are understood to be on the verge of signing the Salford forward Ben Murdoch-Masila for a six-figure fee. Murdoch-Masila, who was named last week in the 2017 Super League Dream Team, will become the latest part of the rebuilding process at Warrington, who are expected to confirm the Australian Steve Price as their new coach for 2018.

Mark Sampson should have been sacked four years ago, says FA’s Greg Clarke

Greg Clarke, the FA chairman, says he held a board conference call as soon as he learnt the allegations about Mark Sampson’s time at Bristol Academy
 Greg Clarke, the FA chairman, says he held a board conference call as soon as he learnt the allegations about Mark Sampson’s time at Bristol Academy. Photograph: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

The chairman of the Football Association, Greg Clarke, has claimed Mark Sampson should have been sacked as manager of the England women’s team “three or four years ago” and defended the governing body’s handling of the controversy surrounding the 34-year-old.

Sampson was dismissed last month over safeguarding allegations relating to his time as manager of Bristol Academy. The timing of the decision has been deemed convenient by some observers given the accusations of racism made against him by the former England striker Eni Aluko and her Chelsea team-mate Drew Spence and of a subsequent cover-up by those at the top of English football, with Clarke in the firing line alongside the FA’s chief executive, Martin Glenn, and technical director, Dan Ashworth.

Their case is not helped by the fact the allegations regarding Sampson’s time at Bristol were first made in March 2014 and Glenn has admitted to being first told of the investigation in October 2015, but Clarke insists nothing untoward has occurred and that he for one would have acted sooner had he been in a position to do so. The former Football League chairman joined the FA 12 months ago.

“When you get to the point where the new chairman and the new chief executive find out something that wasn’t shared with the board a long time ago, do you think, ‘That’s a shame, we’d have done something if we’d known’, or do you make a decision?” Clarke said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “Martin [Glenn] said, ‘Look, I found this out yesterday.’ I said, ‘Right, what do you think?’ He told me, I agreed with him and we had a board conference call.

“We asked some questions about legalities, facts, what happened when. And we made a decision. That’s the sort of decision that should have been made three or four years ago but you can’t use that as an excuse to duck the decision today.”

Sampson was cleared by an internal FA investigation, as well as an independent inquiry, overseen by the barrister Katharine Newton, of bullying and harassment claims made against him by Aluko and during the China Cup in 2015 of asking a mixed-race player, subsequently revealed to be Spence, how many times she had been arrested.

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Sampson denies all accusations against him, including Aluko’s claim that the Welshman told the striker to make sure her family did not bring Ebola with them from Nigeria before England played Germany in November 2014. But the FA has now resumed its internal inquiry into the Aluko case and is also giving serious consideration to launching a fresh investigation into Sampson after Spence came forward.

Clarke, who will face the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on 18 October alongside Glenn and Ashworth to discuss the Sampson cases, is insistent that Aluko’s and Spence’s accusations have not been taken lightly by the FA, despite the criticism that has come the organisation’s way, with Aluko describing the initial inquiries as a farce and the PFA calling them “a sham … intended to protect Mark Sampson”.

Clarke said: “If there are issues, we want people to raise them. But there are the rights of the people who feel aggrieved and the rights of the people who’ve been accused.

“We had an internal investigation, which came to a simple conclusion. Our barrister is now collecting more evidence. If the conclusions stay the same – fine. If they differ – fine. All we want is to get to the bottom of it.”

Marcus Rashford stays grounded but is hoping to propel England to Russia

That makes it a slightly unusual interview in one respect, not least because Rashford manages to go from start to finish without a single line that fits into the narrative of what an exhilarating story it has been. Yet that perhaps is how they are taught at United – never to get too far ahead of themselves – and Rashford has come all the way through the system, including the club-sponsored Ashton-on-Mersey School. “There’s loads of different examples I can give you of ways they keep us grounded,” he explained of his days in the club’s academy. “If you are winning a game by a ridiculous scoreline, obviously as an attacker you might start messing about if you’ve scored three goals or whatever. But the coaches will tell you: ‘You’re beating them but still show them respect.’ They drill that into you from a very young age.

Marcus Rashford speaks to reporters at an England press call.
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 Marcus Rashford speaks to reporters at an England press call. Photograph: Paul Currie/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock

“Obviously the coaching is very good, but They also try to turn you into good people as well as good players. It’s about having respect for everyone, regardless of who they are or what they’re doing. That is probably the baseline at United, no matter what age you are. Just having that alone can get you a long way. It’s the main message they give you.”

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The result is there is no self‑congratulation from the player who scored on his Premier League, Champions League, League Cup and Europa League debuts, not to mention his first appearance for England, breaking Tommy Lawton’s 78-year record as the team’s youngest-ever debutant scorer. At the same time, it is not shyness that exudes from the 19-year-old. Rashford might have the superstar’s accessories now – the fast car, the expensive clothes, the big house – but he is from a streetwise part of south Manchester and perhaps, for someone in his position, that is not such a bad thing.

Ask him about the biggest change in his life and his response makes it clear it has not all been a bed of roses. “Probably the way you have to look after yourself, and look out for yourself as well, because everyone is always trying to get something off the back of you. You have to take care of yourself. You just have to be smart and try not to put yourself in them situations as much as you can. But there are always people who are trying to build themselves up off the back of you. It can be your own friends, or even people’s family members. It’s difficult, but what are you to know? I have people around me that guide me and kind of keep me away from certain things. Sometimes as a young player, that’s what’s needed. I have friends. I just do normal stuff, to be honest. I play PlayStation and I take the dogs for a walk.”

He has two – “a Cane Corso and a Frenchie [French bulldog]” – and is already thinking about who might be able to look after them in a World Cup summer. It is a reminder of Rashford’s tender years that the first tournament he can remember was South Africa in 2010, aged 12, and even then his memory was sketchy. “It’s going back,” he said. “Lampard and … Germany? That’s the one.”