But against Costa Rica, Rashford looked relaxed and confident with the ball, utilising his electric pace in the right moments and also toying with defenders as he stood out wide.
If optimism and openness alone could win games, England would breeze through the group stage on the basis of their performances in front of the media in the past week.
"I do not see him starting the first game for England, but I can see him having an impact at some point in the tournament". "I love him there".
But while that competition may have come too soon for the young players, it was a massively important learning curve for the group, who have now been together long enough to suggest that Russian Federation may just well be where England finally shines following an impressive qualifying campaign. "We have a platform to build into the tournament".
"It's a Catch-22, but I'm happy that I'm in good physical condition now - a lot better than I was at the end of a year ago". But three players in particular might have played unexpectedly their way into Southgate's starting eleven.
Marcus Rashford in action on Thursday evening.
As a result of that, he said: "Playing in the World Cup would tick a box - but I've still got a few more boxes I want to tick".
Rose has had a hard season for Tottenham, as he discussed in an extraordinary interview this week, but on Thursday he played with panache.
"I know I shouldn't mention it but I've got a tattoo of it on my arm!" he said this week of the No.10 after some unwanted attention for tattoos. "I think he's played himself into the team against Tunisia".
"Henderson can play as a number eight, so that gives you an option, Dier can play as a centre-back...so they both have another way into the team". None of us are going to get excited or get out of bed just for getting out of the group.
The Three Lions played a high-energy game and kept possession well, two things their opponents failed to do.
"We have all said from day one that with the ability in this squad, we are capable of beating any other team at the World Cup on our day. That's what Harry Kane does and what, unfortunately, Sterling doesn't do".
Take a look through the gallery above to see every World Cup 2018 manager ranked by their wages.
Costa Rica face tournament favorites Brazil as well as Serbia and Switzerland in Group E, and will need to show far more ambition once they get to Russian Federation if they are to replicate their heroics of four years ago.
England have impressed in warm-up wins over fellow World Cup teams Nigeria and Costa Rica.
"It is up to the manager to decide who is in the best XI for the first game and then for the games after that but I have felt in good form for a long time".