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.