Marcus Rashford to benefit from England U21s says Southgate

Sunday 04 Sep 2016
Marcus Rashford

Gareth Southgate believes Marcus Rashford will benefit from regular international football with England Under-21s.

The Manchester United striker joined up with Southgate’s squad for the first time earlier this week, having previously been part of the senior group at Euro 2016 in France.

Prior to that, the 18-year-old had been capped at U20, U18 and U16 level before his rise to quick prominence at Old Trafford earlier this year.

England v Norway

UEFA European U21 Championship
Group 9 Qualifier
5.45pm, Tuesday 6 September 2016
Colchester Community Stadium
Live on BT Sport
Tickets: £10 adults & £5 concessions

And Southgate says that Rashford’s inclusion with the U21s should be seen as more of an opportunity to play, learn and impress after missing out on Sam Allardyce’s first England squad.

"It is not a demotion to be with the U21s, not at all," said Southgate ahead of his team’s Euro Qualifier with Norway next Tuesday. 

"It is a chance for him to start matches and it is a valuable experience paying for your country at any level and Marcus will benefit from it.

"Many have already benefited from their time with the U21s and to be part of the squad that goes to Russia [World Cup 2018] should be his target – along with the other players I have with me."

Southgate’s side have just three qualifiers remaining and go into Tuesday’s game on top of their group, so the Three Lions know that if they can secure victory and follow it up with results against Kazakhstan and Bosnia & Herzegovina next month, then they will secure a spot at next summer’s Euro Finals in Poland.

And the head coach says that is an experience which all of his U21s squad should be hungry to sample, with Allardyce in agreement hence why Rashford was available for the U21s.


"We speak regularly and he [Allardyce] told me what was likely to happen [regarding Rashford's selection]," said Southgate. 

"Marcus has one hell of a future and with the U21s, hopefully, we can help him develop his potential.

"The U21s have a vital role to play. It teaches players to mix with those from other clubs, to play in different countries and play in different conditions to what they are used to at club level. 

"That is what they faced in Toulon in the summer – and they won so that will hopefully be great preparation for the time they get called up for the senior squad.

"So in no way can it be a demotion. It is the chance to give Marcus and other young players a taste of international football."

By Nicholas Veevers