The FA

Southgate explains Rash decision

England manager Gareth Southgate says not selecting Marcus Rashford was inconceivable

Thursday 25 May 2017

England manager Gareth Southgate insists Marcus Rashford is a pivotal member of his senior squad and believes the teenager will continue to grow from strength to strength under his tutelage.

Rashford, who has won eight senior England caps and scored on his debut against Australia in April 2016, has been named in the squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Scotland and the international away in France three days later.

The 19-year-old will not be part of the Under-21s squad that flies to Poland for the Euro 2017 Championship next month.

It would be inconceivable not to put him in the senior squad
- Gareth Southgate, England manager

Southgate said: “He’s in the senior squad on merit, and has been for a year. He had one game with the Under-21s when I was there in September and he was outstanding that day, but he’s not really been a part of the Under-21 squad.

“His performances warrant him being in the senior squad.

“The question then is: could he have gone with the Under-21s after that? In my opinion, no. He’s a 19-year-old player who’s had an exceptional season and by then will have had virtually 60 matches by that point.

“Somebody has to protect him. Somebody has to manage the development of a young player, and that has to be my call.” 

Southgate, who led the Under-21s at the Euro 2015 Championship, believes that squad will have enough quality to excel under Aidy Boothroyd, even in Rashford’s absence.

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He added: “Of course there are lots of different objectives around what we’d like to do as an organisation and what we’d like to win. But, as the senior manager and with him as a senior player, I’ve got to make that call.

“That’s not easy, because I’m very conscious that the development teams and their success is a very important part of what we want to do. We still want to fulfil that, and that’s why we’ve got the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond going back with the Under-21s now.

“In my view, Marcus’s situation is different. He’s played fewer games in this Under-21 campaign than Eric Dier and Dele Alli – we’re not sending those guys, and we won’t be sending Marcus.

“In January, that (sending him to the U21 Euros) was probably where I was heading with it. He wasn’t a regular in Manchester United’s team and he hadn’t done quite as well for us in November.

“In March, it was important that he was with the senior squad as we didn’t have Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge or Daniel Welbeck. His impact on our games and the way he trained with us was very impressive.

“He then went back to Manchester United and was in their team right the way through to the end of the season, playing in big high-pressure matches. His mentality has been excellent and his performances have been very, very good. It would be inconceivable not to put him in the senior squad.”

By Jim Lucas