Marcus Rashford has given England manager Roy Hodgson a major selection headache for the European Championships after scoring within 138 seconds of his international debut to inspire victory over Australia at Stadium of Light. The Manchester United striker became the youngster player to score on his Three Lions debut and with Daniel Sturridge continuing to nurse a calf problem it leaves Hodgson with a selection dilemma as he prepares to announce his 23-man squad for the finals in France.
Hodgson must confirm his travelling party and the players who will join Fabian Delph in dropping out of the provisional 26-man roster, selected on 16 May. Sturridge must now be considered a major doubt having not trained on either of the last two days and given Rashford's immediate impact the final berth could yet be filled by the 18-year-old.
England completed their preparations for Euro 2016 with an otherwise unimpressive victory over Australia. After Rashford netted inside three minutes, the visitors controlled the game for long periods though they were punished for not genuinely testing Fraser Forster, as substitute Wayne Rooney netted on the break with a fine strike.
An altogether indifferent England display at the back was capped as Eric Dier - who will be used as an emergency centre-back this summer - came off the bench to head past Forster from Milos Degenek's cross to give Australia - managed by Ange Postecoglou - a deserved goal but they were unable to grab a leveller.
Having released the injured Delph from his provisional squad, Hodgson had one more 90 minutes to assist him making a decision over who would accompany the Manchester City midfielder in taking up a watching brief this summer. Rashford and Danny Drinkwater were likely to be among those to drop out but both players named in a much-changed England team from the win over Turkey.
Opponents Australia, a far cry from the Premier League-spangled team which last played England in 2001, represented the test for Hodgson's men as they prepared for the third phase of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. They were captained by Mile Jedinak of Crystal Palace, who was accompanied by Liverpool's Brad Smith and Queens Park Rangers' Massimo Luongo.
Upon picking Rashford in his initial squad, Hodgson has claimed the United forward could knock the more establish members of the squad "off their perch". With Sturridge out with a calf problem, it gave the teenager the opportunity from the start in England's first appearance on Wearside for 13 years - and it was one that from the outset he was determined to take.
Less than three minutes had passed when Rashford made an immediate impact on the international scene, volleying home past Mathew Ryan after an exchange of passes with Raheem Sterling as the fairytale start to his senior career continued. The debutant could even have doubled his tally inside the first 10 minutes, but he miss-controlled Sterling's pass.
Though it was impossible to ignore Rashford's start to life with England, what was an equalling prevailing from the opening exchanges was the ease at which Australia were continuing to open up a back-four which looked decidedly shaky. Fraser Forster survived having a goal-kick charged down before Chris Smalling blocked Jamie MacLaren's shot.
Such was the Socceroos' dominance that goalkeeper Ryan was occupying the half-way line as England were penned in. Smalling was then forced to head over his own crossbar after Joshua Risdon's cross, with MacLaren in close vicinity.
Forster was largely untested however while England twice came close to doubling their lead. First as Lallana was denied by Ryan at close range before Henderson - on home turf in the north east - saw his effort tipped over acrobatically.
Captain Rooney was introduced at the break along with James Milner but the changes failed to improve the England display with John Stones in particular ponderous in defence as Australia became increasingly encouraged. But on the break the hosts grabbed a second against the run of play as Sterling released Rooney who rifled home his 52nd international goal.
Australia continued to operate in a slick manner and they grabbed a well-earned consolation when Degenek's cross was diverted into his own net by Dier, occupying a role at centre-back in place of Smalling. The passage of play further highlighted the soft centre of England's back four and that amid the excitement over the emergence of Rashford, there is much for Hodgson to solve in the defensive third.