Southgate: Man Utd star likely to return to England U-21 duty

Date published: Thursday 16th March 2017 4:57

Marcus Rashford is still likely to go to Poland with the England U-21s this summer, despite being included in the Gareth Southgate’s senior squad.

Rashford has been selected by Three Lions boss Southgate, rather than his under-21 counterpart Aidy Boothroyd, for games with Germany and Lithuania next week due to a striker shortage in the senior ranks.

Southgate’s ideal scenario would have been to have Rashford in the junior age group and there is still a possibility that the forward joins James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond, also senior call-ups this time around, at this summer’s Under-21 European Championship.

That may incur the wrath of Rashford’s club boss Jose Mourinho, who is concerned about fatigue for a player who has already accumulated 40 appearances this term and was a part of England’s Euro 2016 squad.

“My idea would have been that Marcus was with the under-21s this time around,” Southgate said.

“Clearly we’ve lost Harry (Kane), we’ve lost Daniel Sturridge as number nines. With the qualifying game especially, we need that sort of cover.

“Then we’ve got to see how much football he plays between now and the end of the season really.”

There was a more definitive answer on the summer plans for Southampton pair Ward-Prowse and Redmond, both uncapped at the senior level.

“Even though they’ll definitely be with the under-21s in the summer, we feel to hold them back just because of that wouldn’t be the right thing,” Southgate added.

“We think it’s a good message for that under-21 squad that there is a pathway for them. We think there’s one or two others that can come on that route.”

The under-21s squad for the double header against Germany and Denmark includes Liverpool’s Joe Gomez after 18 months out injured.

The 19-year-old defender had been sidelined since suffering a serious knee injury in the Young Lions’ Euro 2017 3-0 qualifying win over Kazakhstan in October 2015.

He returned for Liverpool in January and has made three appearances since regaining fitness.

Southampton midfielder Sam McQueen is also primed for his debut after a first call-up.

Boothroyd’s side travel to Wiesbaden to face Germany on March 24 before a game against Denmark in Randers on March 27.

Boothroyd, who replaced senior manager Southgate on a permanent basis in February, told the FA’s official site: “These are two very testing games.

“Although I’ve been in the job on an interim basis, for my first game to be Germany away – they don’t come much more difficult than that.

“But that’s what we want. We want to test ourselves against the best.”

Tottenham’s Harry Winks, Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, who has scored 21 goals on loan at Bristol City this season, are in along with Leicester’s Demarai Gray ahead of the friendlies.

Squad: Gunn (Manchester City), Pickford (Sunderland), Walton (Brighton), Chilwell (Leicester), Gomez (Liverpool), Hause (Wolves), Holding (Arsenal), Holgate (Everton), Mawson (Swansea), McQueen (Southampton), Stephens (Southampton), Baker (Vitesse Arnhem – on loan from Chelsea), Chalobah (Chelsea), Grealish (Aston Villa), Hughes (Derby), Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Swift (Reading), Winks (Tottenham), Abraham (Bristol City – on loan from Chelsea), Brown (Huddersfield – on loan from Chelsea), Gray (Leicester), March (Brighton), Woodrow (Burton – on loan from Fulham).

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