Former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer has insisted that Marcus Rashford deserves a place in England’s starting XI for the World Cup qualifier against Malta.
The teenager was initially left out of the England squad back in late August after not receiving sufficient levels of game time under Jose Mourinho.
Since then, however, the 18-year-old has quickly imposed himself on the Portuguese’s starting XI through a series of sumptuous performances, scoring four goals in the process.
Writing in his weekly column for The Sun, Shearer was adamant that Rashford ought to start against Malta on October 8.
“Give him his first competitive start and let us see what he can do,” he said.
“He has been knocking on the door until now. He is crashing on it with his performance for Manchester United. If you can step up to the plate for them, England will hold no worries for him.
“To be fair caretaker boss Gareth Southgate could play anyone up front and win this game, so why not give Rashford his chance?
“We need to be looking to the future after those woeful performances at the Euros and Rashford is very much that.”
From a purely objective point of view, Rashford necessarily merits a place in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI.
The youngster has 12 goals in 2016, more than any other English player, eclipsing established players like Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and, of course, Wayne Rooney. His record speaks for itself: at just 18, he is the most prolific, devastating attacking player this country has to offer.
Even those who choose to dismiss stats, instead viewing football through a more impressionistic lens, would arrive at the same conclusion. No other English forward plays with the same level of raw energy, speed and fearlessness. Handing him the No.9 shirt for the Malta game, therefore, is paramount.