Gareth Southgate speaks out about Marcus Rashford’s role for England

by Leo Nieboer

New England manager Gareth Southgate has spoken out about Marcus Rashford‘s role in the national side, insisting the 19-year-old would benefit from tournament football.

Rashford, following a spellbinding debut campaign at Manchester United, made his England debut back in May in a friendly with Australia and scored after just 138 seconds.

The 19-year-old was later handed a surprise inclusion in England’s 23-man squad for Euro 2016, and has made five international appearances altogether.

Southgate, speaking at his first press conference as England manager on Thursday, discussed Rashford’s future with the national set-up.

“Marcus would benefit from tournament football, but I’m conscious of his age and workload over the season. So we will assess it and work out what is best for him,” he said.

“I’m excited by the current senior squad and the players coming through our development teams, we have had a reasonable amount of success and I pretty much know all of them.

“That is great position to be in as an organisation, a great opportunity to join up everything we have done at St George’s Park, and we haven’t been able to do that before because we never had a national home or a head coach who came through the system.”

The appointment of Southgate does little to inspire confidence for the next few years. Indeed, the surprise that came with seeing Sam Allardyce depart after just one game hasn’t fully abated, and all of a sudden we have Southgate – a knowledgeable but hardly spellbinding individual, inexperienced at this level – to contend with.

One positive that stems from this sudden transition is that Southgate, manager of England’s Under 21s for three years, has a natural tendency to invest in youth. And Rashford, especially after his hat-trick against Norway under Southgate back in September, seems like the type of player – young, exuberant, new and fearless – that Southgate would be keen to include.

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