Marcus Rashford could be in danger of becoming the forgotten man in an England side, which has a wealth of attacking options, Manchester United’s forward has to address his poor club form with the Euros looming.
Rashford came off the bench in the 2-1 defeat against Czech Republic and replaced United target Jadon Sancho in the 73rd minute. He didn’t have any impact in what was a poor England performance.
Gareth Southgate opted to go with a front four of Sancho, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, and gave Mason Mount his first senior international start.
Rashford may be recalled to the starting line up for the clash in Bulgaria, but the competition for places in the England forward areas is intensifying, with a number of young players impressing for their club sides.
Since bursting onto the scene with a goal on his senior international debut against Australia in 2016, Rashford has gone on to score 7 goals in 35 caps.
However, in the key positions he will be wanting to play under Southgate, either left-forward or striker, his international team mates are performing consistently at a higher level in the Premier League.
Rashford on the other hand looks downbeat and on too many occasions is seen sulking during games, he needs a goal to lift his confidence and end his barren spell.
Who is he competing against?
Rashford was always going to find it difficult to dislodge Kane from the striker position, but it’s not just the Tottenham Hotspur talisman he has to worry about now. He has new threats.
If the England captain was to be ruled out of games due to an injury, Rashford would be competing against Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson, both of which have had impressive goalscoring starts to the new campaign.
What if Southgate can convince Jamie Vardy to come out of retirement ahead of the Euros as well? it would make Rashford’s chances of featuring up front very slim.
Rashford prefers playing on the left-hand side instead of the right, but that is also an area that is proving increasingly difficult to nail down, with Southgate having a number of talented players who can play in that position.
Competition in the wide areas will come from Sancho, Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mount can also play there and James Maddison hasn’t even made his debut yet.
What does Rashford have to do?
Rashford won’t want to suffer the same fate as his good mate Jesse Lingard, who got dropped from the England squad. Southgate has the options at his disposal to give his under-performing stars a wake up call if they need it.
There is no denying Rashford is struggling in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, and this was evident in his ineffectual display against Newcastle United, he needs the likes of Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba to return, creative players that Rashford can link with.
Instead of feeling sorry himself, Rashford needs to show in his body language that he is determined to overcome this drought, he hasn’t scored an open play goal since the opening weekend, but how many of those darting runs in behind have we seen since? Does there need to be a greater desire?
If Solskjaer can get his best 11 fit and firing, the United side that impressed in the opening two fixtures against Chelsea and Wolves, Rashford who himself has struggled with injuries, could rekindle his best form.
There is still enough time for Rashford to convince Southgate that he should be a nailed down starter, but if he doesn’t dramatically address his poor club form, he could face being used in the Euros as an impact player.
- Manchester United may have played a masterstroke over Chris Smalling
- Martial and Rashford are teammates, not rivals
- Manchester United are on a collision course with Inter Milan
- Looking at the impact at United of the substitute rule changing again
- Alexis Sanchez’s six best moments at Manchester United