England debut for fully fit Rashford

Just three months after making his debut for Manchester United, Marcus Rashford is in line to earn his first England cap. According to head coach Roy Hodgson: "The lad has enormous talent."
Just three months after making his debut for Manchester United, Marcus Rashford is in line to earn his first England cap. According to head coach Roy Hodgson: "The lad has enormous talent."PHOTO: REUTERS

Hodgson to give United teenager a chance to press his claims for inclusion in Euro squad

LONDON • Roy Hodgson has told Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford he will make his England debut on Friday after the teenager was passed fit for what will be his only chance at international level to show he should make the final cut for Euro 2016.

Rashford joined England's squad on Monday for the first time after a scan revealed there was no significant damage from the injury that forced him off during the FA Cup final and the 18-year-old is being lined up to win his first cap only 92 days after making his United debut.

Hodgson is deliberating whether to include him when the squad, now comprising 26 players, is whittled down to 23 next Tuesday. And the England manager acknowledged that Rashford would be under pressure to make an immediate impact.

"I don't really know what to expect from him," he said. "Don't forget Rashford was a bit unlucky because the amount of time we are going to have with him is very short. It will be Wednesday and Thursday (training), Friday's match and then we have to make a decision on the 23 players.

"There is no doubt I made the right decision putting him in this large group because the lad has enormous talent.

"There isn't an awful lot of chance for him to stamp his authority on myself and the coaching staff when there is such a short period of time. But I am ruling nothing out."

To the question of whether Rashford would make his debut, Hodgson said: "We'd hope so, yes. I'm not planning an experimental team but we have only three preparation games and already quite a lot of people - seven players - have missed the first one."

The team selection on Friday may also be swayed by Jack Wilshere's need to increase his match sharpness, with Hodgson making it clear that as long as the midfielder is sufficiently fit he will be included in his final squad.

Wilshere lasted 66 minutes of the 2-1 win against Turkey on Sunday but Hodgson said he was not unduly concerned if the Arsenal player still lacks fitness.

Wilshere played centrally alongside Dele Alli as one of two attacking midfielders on Sunday and hopes to stay in that position if he survives the cut.

The 24-year-old played only 141 minutes for Arsenal this season after missing the majority of the campaign with a broken leg, with two of his three appearances being in wide areas and only six minutes in a central role as a substitute for Mesut Oezil.

As such, Wilshere had a dig at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, complaining that he has been played out of position for the Gunners.

"With Arsenal I've been playing out wide, which is not me," he said. "I'm not a wide man, but Roy seems to have faith in me in the middle so I'm happy with that and I like to play anywhere in the middle.

"I played the holding role before and I really enjoy that, and against Turkey I was a bit higher up and enjoyed that too."

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2016, with the headline 'England debut for fully fit Rashford'. Print Edition | Subscribe