Marcus Rashford was not included in the most recent 28-man selection for this month’s pre-World Cup friendlies, but Gareth Southgate believes he still has a chance to make England’s World Cup roster.
The Manchester United star has put up some highly encouraging displays thus far this season under new United manager Erik ten Hag, scoring three goals and providing two assists in just six Premier League outings.
Although he did not participate in United’s Europa League 2-0 victory against Sheriff on Thursday night due to a minor injury, it does not appear that this was a factor in the decision to leave him out of the England team.
The door is firmly open for Rashford and others if they can continue to impress, according to Southgate, who still wanted to stay with players from his previous group, including Jarrod Bowen, who has yet to score or assist this season.
Southgate explains the England squad amid notable absentees
“Although our results were disappointing in the summer, we have picked on the basis of form and capability over a long period”. The Three Lions’ boss emphasized that because the nation was in a period of grief, he chose not to attend a press conference and instead issued a brief statement.
“This time, there were some guys we wanted to keep on board, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other players who weren’t included have been written off.”
“Marcus Rashford, for instance, has recently displayed some positive signals. He is a guy we are familiar with, so if he can deliver in the next two weeks, he will undoubtedly be taken into consideration.”
Jadon Sancho, who has also started to flourish again under Ten Hag, wasn’t mentioned, but Southgate is less than pleased about the fact that both Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw made the team despite having less playing time.
He continued: “Clearly, we have a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips who are not playing a lot of minutes with their club.”
Ben White was a notable absentee in defence while Ivan Toney was handed his first senior-call up after impressing so far for Brentford.
“We believe that it was a very tight call among our center backs, and he deserved to be selected back in the group,” they said. We are aware of his good moral character. He is culturally compatible, has extensive foreign experience, and possesses strong leadership skills.
“It is not ideal, but we feel they have been, and can be, important players for us. It is not a perfect situation but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.”
“With Ivan Toney, we have been tracking him for a long time. I had a good chat with Thomas Frank about him last season. His form and his qualities – not only his goalscoring but his technical ability, build-up play and aerial prowess – gives us a different threat to some of the other players we could pick.”