England manager Gareth Southgate has revealed that Ryan Giggs initially wanted to keep Marcus Rashford away from the Under 21 side when he burst onto the global scene back in February 2016.
The teenager made an emphatic start to life in the senior side by claiming four goals in his opening two games before proving instrumental in Manchester United’s FA Cup success under Louis van Gaal.
He was later selected for the England squad travelling to Euro 2016 by Roy Hodgson and made appearances against Wales and Iceland.
But Southgate, who was Under 21 boss at the time, noted that Giggs, as assistant manager, didn’t even want Rashford to join up with the Under 21 set-up so soon after emerging as indispensable under Van Gaal.
“When Ryan was working as assistant manager, Marcus had just broken into the team and we were deciding which age group to put him with,” he said.
“We felt maybe putting him in the Under-21s straight away would put too much spotlight on him, so I think the club were grateful for that.
“But then Roy picked him for the seniors about two months later.
“So that plan was out the window but you can also see why because, blimey, the impact he had at the time and then immediately with England was fantastic.”
You can see where Giggs was coming from. Supporters themselves were cautious over seeing Rashford burned out by the international spotlight too early. Such has been the case with too many talented youngsters – Adnan Januzaj serves as a perfect example.
But that was before the watching world understood what Rashford was made of. He has proven himself, time and time again, to be so much more than a raw diamond. This is somebody who has been deciding games from minute one at Old Trafford and no sane manager would ever consider suppressing that kind of talent.