Former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen has called on Marcus Rashford to take full advantage of his time with the national side, noting that the absence of Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge serves as a key opportunity for the youngster to assert himself under Gareth Southgate.
The 19-year-old made a sensational start to his England career back in May 2016, scoring just three minutes into his debut and impressing from the bench at Euro 2016.
Southgate made it clear prior to his side’s 1-0 defeat to Germany on Wednesday night – which saw the youngster come on for the last 20 minutes – that Rashford plays an important part in his plans as England manager going forward.
And Owen, speaking earlier this week, emphasised the importance of Rashford taking every opportunity he receives for his country.
“It’s not easy when you’re at a team like Manchester United – you’ve got to bear in mind that there’s a lot of other great players there so your progress isn’t going to be as immediate as at a club where you can play every week,” he said.
“But (for England), with [Harry] Kane not being there, with [Daniel] Sturridge not being there, there’s a definite opportunity for the strikers that are there to stake a claim. Rashford is a top young player.
“I think he’s done great, every time he plays he’s showing a maturity, he’s got a lovely touch and of course he’s very quick.”
Southgate has outlined a clear – and, at least in my opinion, highly encouraging – vision since taking up a permanent role as England boss. His first squad possesses an unavoidably youthful veneer; he has spoken of taking England away from a long-standing ‘island’ mentality; he is mindful of not just where England will be next week but indeed in the next few years.
And Rashford, with this in mind, can be hugely optimistic going forward: Southgate will continue to hand the Englishman opportunities over the next year and he can, in turn, embed himself in 46-year-old’s set-up ahead of next year’s World Cup.