Rashford looks set to make cut as Hodgson finalises squad
Published 30/05/2016 | 02:30
Marcus Rashford has so impressed England boss Roy Hodgson since he met with the rest of the squad last week that the Manchester United teenager now appears increasingly likely to go to Euro 2016.
At the same time, Hodgson appears intent on taking Daniel Sturridge, who appears to have convinced him that he will overcome his calf injury and be fit to play in France even if there are doubts in the England camp.
It is not just Rashford's debut goal and impressive performance against Australia that has made a mark but, for Hodgson; even more so, the way the 18-year-old has trained so comfortably with more senior players, and the adaptability and freshness he has shown.
The Manchester United striker has also impressed with his skill and trickery, his temperament and his willingness to adapt and play anywhere across the forward line when required.
Hodgson regards Rashford as a clever, athletic player who can fill some of the significant void left by the injury to Danny Welbeck which has so affected England's plans for France.
Hodgson has to cut two players - in addition to Fabian Delph who he has already placed on stand-by given his injury - before UEFA's deadline of midnight tomorrow.
Significantly, Ross Barkley has been doing extra training and working on specific areas after it was decided that he was lacking in sharpness and had possibly also had his confidence affected by Everton's campaign.
The manager remains committed to the Everton midfielder, while he is also leaning towards taking Sturridge as well as Rashford, which would mean Andros Townsend and Danny Drinkwater are the two players most under threat of being left out. But in saying that, Hodgson was impressed by Townsend's impact as a substitute in Friday's friendly and knows that Drinkwater could be valuable in the midfield diamond formation he is now considering as England's favoured approach.
It all means Hodgson has yet to make a final decision and has some tough decisions to make.
Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs will hold talks with new Manchester United boss José Mourinho this week with the Welshman reportedly prepared to end his lifelong association with the club if they fail to offer him an attractive position.
The 42-year-old is considered the long-term heir to Alex Ferguson's throne at Old Trafford but he has twice been overlooked - for Louis van Gaal and now Mourinho - in the time since the Scot announced his retirement in 2013.
Teenage sensations Rashford and full-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson have agreed new, long-term deals with United, while other reports suggest free-agent Zlatan Ibrahimovic will become Mourinho's first major signing later this week.
But those positive pieces of business will be overshadowed if Giggs, a 13-time Premier League winner with the club as a player, decides to cut his ties and look for a more senior position elsewhere.
Former Internazionale, Real Madrid and Chelsea manager Mourinho plans to install Rui Faria, his long-time lieutenant, as his number two at Old Trafford meaning Giggs would face a demotion.
Unless Mourinho can convince the former Wales international that he will still have a strong voice in the dressing room, it is possible that he will try his hand at management elsewhere after growing tired of waiting for his moment at United. (© Daily Telegraph, London)