Monday 20 January 2020

Man United tyro Marcus Rashford in line for England recall under caretaker boss Gareth Southgate

Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford

Simon Peach

Marcus Rashford is set to be recalled to the senior team when Gareth Southgate names his first England squad on Sunday.

It has been a whirlwind week of change and controversy for the English game, throwing the Football Association into a tailspin. The governing body decided on Tuesday that Sam Allardyce's position was untenable after secretly-filmed footage emerged of the recently-appointed Three Lions boss making a string of controversial comments.

The Daily Telegraph's investigation brought an ignominious end to his reign after just one match and 67 days, with England Under-21s manager Southgate parachuted into the hotseat for the final four matches of 2016.

World Cup qualifiers at home to Malta and in Slovenia await in the coming fortnight, with Rashford set to be included when the 46-year-old announces his first squad on Sunday. His absence from Thursday's Young Lions squad all but confirmed his return.

An incredible breakthrough year has seen the striker become a mainstay for Manchester United and led to Roy Hodgson taking him to Euro 2016.

Rashford netted on his debut against Australia and made an impact in his two appearances from the bench in France, yet was omitted for Allardyce's first - and only - match in charge and dropped down to the Under-21s.

The 18-year-old fired a hat-trick in last month's 6-1 mauling of Norway, leading then Under-21s manager Southgate to say it would give the senior team boss "food for thought". This week's remarkable turn of events means it will be him making the call.

Everton's Ross Barkley could also return for the first time since Euro 2016, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andros Townsend are pushing for a recall. On-loan Bournemouth midfielder Jack Wilshere is still searching for form and fitness but is another in contention.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane, Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph and Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland are out, as is Adam Lallana after limping off after 20 minutes of Liverpool's 2-1 win at Swansea on Saturday lunchtime.

The attacking midfielder scored the winner against Slovakia last month - the only goal of the Allardyce era - but is struggling with a groin injury.

"Felt it, tried again, didn't work," Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said.

"In this moment, he has no chance for the national team but hopefully 15 or 16 days should be enough to bring him back on the pitch (for Liverpool).

"There was no sign of it in the week. These things can happen."

Eric Dier and Danny Rose have a chance to prove their fitness when Spurs host Manchester City on Sunday, as does United's Luke Shaw after a slight groin tear and illness.

There will be keen interest as to whether Wayne Rooney starts a third successive United match from the bench when Stoke arrive, but Southgate has already informed the forward that he will be remaining England captain.

The 30-year-old's position in the starting line-up, never mind his whereabouts on the field, for both club and country remains a hot topic of debate but the interim manager has spoken to the forward to tell him he will stay as skipper.

Southgate, who has held several roles at the FA over the years, is said to have long been impressed by Rooney's leadership and is keen for continuity.

PA Media

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