The European Under-21 Championships are still eight months away, but things are already getting pretty heated between the FA and Manchester United over the contentious issue of Marcus Rashford’s involvement.
England are desperate to take the Red Devils starlet to the tournament, which they have already qualified for, but unsurprisingly, United do not see the need.
The 18-year-old’s remarkable rise to fame since his debut under Louis van Gaal last season has seen him fast-tracked to the senior Three Lions side, for whom he also scored in his first appearance.
Rashford was once again included in Gareth Southgate’s squads to face Malta and Slovenia, and once a player has progressed to that level, it’s unusual for them to play for the under-21s again.
Jose Mourinho clearly does not see why his striker should have to go to the Championships in Poland rather than have the summer off, even if it would help the national side’s chances a great deal.
The Portuguese insisted it wouldn’t help the player’s development at all, quoted by the Daily Mail as saying:
“If he becomes a regular in the national team and established, then to say it is important for his development with the Under 21s, makes no sense.
“It’s the same that he’s a regular here with us. Are we going to play him in the Under 23 Championship because we want to beat somebody and he can give us a help in that?
“If he’s an Under 21 player in the national team, then he is an Under 21 player and there is no discussion. But if he becomes a regular choice for Gareth Southgate in the first team, then we have to speak because we don’t want him going.”
It also raises the question of whether the likes of Dele Alli, who is still only 20, should be up for selection, though he hasn’t been involved in qualifying.
United are not going to give Rashford up easily, but if he is on the plane next June, he’s sure to make a huge difference to England’s hopes of winning the whole thing.