THE warm-ups are over, now the real action can begin. England completed their preparations for the European Championships with their second 1-0 win at the Riverside in the space of four days, although Gareth Southgate will be hoping that the sight of Jordan Henderson seeing his second-half penalty saved does not prove a precursor to what is about to follow over the course of the next month. Focus instead on the successful spot-kick dispatched by Marcus Rashford to settle things.

Another makeshift England line-up got the job done yesterday, although it is debatable what Southgate will have learned from his either of his side’s outings on Teesside. Yesterday’s game proved that James Ward-Prowse can deliver a decent free-kick, Jack Grealish can dribble, and Jadon Sancho possesses a lightning change of pace down the flank. Hardly a revelation.

Admittedly, Jordan Henderson’s appearance as a second-half substitute provided proof of his wellbeing, while goalkeeper Sam Johnstone impressed with a couple of decent second-half saves on his international debut. The fact Johnstone was tested on more than once occasion was alarming though, with Harry Maguire’s absence for at least the opening group game of the Euros leaving Southgate with something of a selection headache.

The England boss’ plans for his Teesside double-header had to be hastily redrawn once it became clear that a combination of injury and the presence of English sides in both European finals was going to deprive him of a number of his key men. Even so, it was a surprise to see so many peripheral performers on the field last night given that England’s opening Group D game against Croatia is now just six days away.

It is possible that none of the players that started last night’s game might be in the starting side for England’s opening outing at the Euros, a bizarre state of affairs given that Southgate has had such little time to work with his side during the last 12 months. If there are to be members of last night’s line-up starting against Croatia, they are likely to be Luke Shaw, who is battling against Ben Chilwell at left-back, Tyrone Mings, who looks to be in pole position to replace Maguire for at least the opening group game, Kalvin Phillips, who could well profit from Henderson’s injury issues, and Rashford, who remains one of Southgate’s key men despite his underwhelming club form.

Grealish and Sancho also have a shout, although it is arguable whether either deserves to be ahead of Mason Mount and Phil Foden in the attacking pecking order.

Of course, Southgate hasn’t even settled on his final squad yet, with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s withdrawal because of the thigh injury sustained in Wednesday’s win over Austria creating a gap that will be filled in the next 24 hours.

Will Southgate go with an extra defender? If so, York-born Ben Godfrey and Brighton’s Ben White, both of whom made their first international starts last night, find themselves going head-to-head for the 26th spot. Or will the England boss decide that Henderson’s injury issues mean he needs extra cover in midfield, even though the Wearsider managed to make it through the second half of yesterday’s game after coming off the bench? In that scenario, it will come down to a straight choice between Ward-Prowse, who started alongside Phillips, and Jesse Lingard, who performed reasonably impressively against Austria.

Ward-Prowse’s set-pieces were the source of England’s main attacking threat for much of yesterday’s game, although it is debatable whether that said more about the quality of the Southampton midfielder’s dead-ball delivery, or the lack of creativity being displayed by his team-mates. For the second game in succession, England’s attacking play was somewhat disjointed, although the hosts did strike the crossbar twice during a goalless first half.

Ward-Prowse was the architect of the first opportunity, swinging in a free-kick that Dominic Calvert-Lewin met on the edge of the 18-yard box. The Everton striker powered in a superb header, but while his effort beat Romanian goalkeeper Florin Nita, the ball thudded off the woodwork.

Six minutes later, and the crossbar was rattling again. Grealish rolled the ball to Sancho on the edge of the area, and the Borussia Dortmund forward casually opened up his body before curling a side-footed strike against the bar.

England might have had an early penalty when Vlad Chiriches caught Rashford, so while the hosts were hardly carving their opponents apart, they were still carrying a threat. The more alarming aspect of their play came at the other end, where a Romanian side ranked number 43 in the world caused sporadic problems. Mings’ frailties were exposed as early as the second minute, when he allowed the ball to roll under his foot to concede a corner, and if this was an audition to partner John Stones against Croatia, the Aston Villa centre-half fluffed his lines on more than one occasion.

Razvan Marin forced Johnstone into a tenth-minute save with a first-time side-foot, while England’s back four was nowhere to be seen six minutes later when an unmarked Andrei Ivan failed to make a proper connection with a glanced header.

Cristian’s pull back to Constantin Paun resulted in Johnstone having to make another save, and the left-hand side of England’s defence was prised apart with alarming ease just before the interval. The impressive Cristian was involved again, playing a one-two with Ivan that took Mings and Shaw out of the game, only for his low strike to be saved by Johnstone’s feet.

Henderson’s arrival preceded the start of the second half, and England almost claimed the lead within two minutes of the restart. Again, Ward-Prowse’s free-kick prowess was the key to unsettling the Romanian defence, with the midfielder firing over a superb delivery. Calvert-Lewin met the ball inside the six-yard box, but his close-range volley was aimed too close to Nita, who saved.

Romania remained a threat themselves after the break though, and after Rashford missed an attempted defensive header, Cristian flashed a low angled drive just past the far post.

Rashford was found wanting on that occasion, but he stepped up to the spot as England finally broke the deadlock midway through the second half. Grealish’s one-two with Shaw enabled him to break into the area, but as he shaped to burst towards the byline, he was tugged back by Romania substitute Tiberiu Capusa. With Harry Kane on the bench, Rashford took on the penalty-taking duties, and after a stuttering run-up, he rolled a side-footed shot into the corner.

England’s lead remained intact until the final whistle, although there was a scare with 16 minutes left. Alexandru Cicaldau’s shot rebounded kindly for Ivan after it had been blocked by Mings, but Johnstone made a superb save to keep out the striker’s follow-up effort.

The hosts’ victory should have been more comfortable, but Henderson passed up a golden opportunity with 12 minutes left. Chiriches leapt into Calvert-Lewin, but Henderson's penalty was a poor one, allowing Nita to save to his right.