Just 11 days before their Group G opener against Tunisia, Thursday’s sold-out Elland Road friendly was the last chance for the Three Lions to fine-tune before departing for Russia.
Southgate made widespread alterations in a bid to test his options and for the most part was rewarded with an encouraging display, with Rashford superbly opening the scoring before Danny Welbeck came off the bench to secure a 2-0 win against underwhelming Costa Rica.
It would have been more had the Three Lions showed a cutting edge, but there was far more to shout about in comparison to the countries’ last meeting at the World Cup four years ago.
Roy Hodgson’s already-eliminated side brought the curtain down on their dreadful finals foray with a lifeless goalless draw in Belo Horizonte.
Just five members from the squad in Brazil are heading to this summer’s finals, with Southgate favouring promise over experience.
This is a fresh group bursting with potential and Rashford is among the contenders to star judging by this audition in West Yorkshire, where a superb 25-yard opener crowned a fine performance,
The Manchester United forward was particularly impressive in the first half, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek another fringe players to sparkle in the first period of a match that tailed off after the break.
But England never looked in danger of throwing away their lead and substitute Welbeck headed home to seal victory against the 2014 World Cup’s surprise package.