While a grand total of 12 former Manchester United academy players are heading to France for this summer’s Euros, all eyes will be on Marcus Rashford.
The young Englishman has gone from academy unknown, to club hero, and now international player. Not bad for an 18-year-old.
Now part of the Three Lions 23-man squad, opinions have been heavily divided on his inclusion.
Former United striker Andy Cole had this to say on him: “I think Marcus has had a fantastic season but he gets in the Euros squad to sit on the bench or to sit in the stands. He can watch that at home on TV.”
Former England manager Stuart Pearce echoed Cole’s sentiments, telling the press: ““He didn’t go to Toulon, and missed that tournament, and chances are he won’t go to the Under-19 European Championship in July. That’s where he should be at. That’s his education. How many minutes is he going to play at this tournament?
With four strikers ahead of him in the pecking order, including international veterans Rooney and Sturridge, his game time looks to be extremely limited, especially if England find themselves struggling in their opening matches.
Despite the potential of limited game time, and missing out on youth tournaments, there is certainly an argument that Rashford’s inclusion benefits the young striker.
Firstly, Rashford has proved this season that he is capable of succeeding alongside senior players, and has scored enough goals past seasoned internationals to suggest he could be of real benefit to England.
What’s more, should England line up with Rooney, Vardy and Kane as starters, Rashford could find himself featuring frequently in the latter stages of the game. Would that not be more value than 90 minutes against youth players?
Considering the situation Rashford has found himself in, how much benefit would he get from youth players whose level he seems to have surpassed now. Not to devalue the importance of youth tournaments for young players, but there is a point where players need new challenges.
Regardless of speculation, Rashford’s progress this summer will ultimately be one of the talking points of the Three Lions tournament.
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