Marcus Rashford is like lightning in a bottle and continued his brilliant form from last season to help England U21′s where he scored a superb debut hatrick over Norway as England ran out 6-1 winners for World Cup qualifying.
Rashford sent a message to club manager Jose Mourinho at Manchester United who has dropped the talented Englishman to the bench in favour of a starting line up of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial. How longer can Mourinho resist such a talent? The worry in the past with Mourinho has been his intent to stick with star players over Academy ones, but surely he will recognise for the good of the club that Rashford really ought to be starting games.
Pressure also rests with England manager Sam Allardyce who decided to drop Rashford into the U21′s. But as evidenced against a dogged Slovakia team in his first game in charge the England forward line was listless. How they could have done with Rashford to settle the nerves early on instead of relying on a goal that came 20 seconds to the end of added injury time.
Rashford was obviously elated by his three goals and said: “It was a good début to have. It was a strong performance from the boys. Norway played well, despite the scoreline. We worked hard for the whole 90 minutes and I think in the end we deserved the result.” Asked about his favourite goal of the evening, Rashford surprised some “I’d say the penalty was my favourite, to be honest. It was the first penalty I have scored since I have been a professional.”
Allardyce was at the match and that can only be a positive sign that he is keeping close tabs on the 18 year old. But it seems odd that England would want to hold back such a talent. Wayne Rooney faced a similar problem at the same age but played for the senior team almost immediately.
Back to Mourinho and he now faces an interesting task ahead of him- does he start with Rashford in the eagerly awaited Manchester derby this weekend? The feeling is that he won’t but Rashford will get game time.
Gareth Southgate the U21 coach said of Rashford, “I’ll speak to Sam in the next couple of days, I’m sure, but I’m sure it’s given him food for thought. But he’ll be pleased with some of the performances of his players .“What we saw all week [from Rashford] we saw tonight, so I wasn’t surprised in any way. I don’t think anyone can rubbish the experience. The key is, if they come down, they get to play and put on a show like that.”