Wednesday 18th May 2016
Marcus Rashford was centre of attention on Tuesday night after his shock inclusion in England’s initial 26-man Euro 2016 squad. The Manchester United striker impressed as the Red Devils confirmed their Europa League group spot by beating Bournemouth 3-1. The 18-year-old only made his first team debut in February, a game in which he netted a brace. Since then, he has featured in 17 games for United, scoring 8 and assisting two. His rise at the club caught the eye of England manager Roy Hodgson who has opted to include him in the 26-man provisional squad.
Pundits and supporters are split as to whether the call up for a major tournament has come too soon for the teenager. Some fear the clamour for his inclusion was premature, however in a short time he has provided a compelling case. His pace and ability to take on defenders, ability to score a variety of goals and quick feet are all major attractions for including him in the squad. There are question marks around whether Rashford would be in the squad is he wasn’t a United player? Would Jermain Defoe be a safer choice, having scored 18 goals for a struggling Sunderland side, or Andy Carroll’s ability to offer more power in the air. Most England fans will be wondering if this is Theo Walcott all over again, after the 17 year old was included in Sven-Goran Eriksson’s 2006 World Cup squad. However, at the time Walcott had not played a minute of Premier League football. Only time will tell if the decision to include Rasford pays off. He could be the key man to take England to Euro 2016 glory. Who will win EURO 2016? Place your bets now!
Ian Wright believes Roy Hodgson has made the right decision to include the striker. “He has come in and coped really well playing in front of 70,000 and all the media attention, despite being only 18... Rashford has pace, he makes super runs and he finishes comfortably: He’s got everything.... He would also be a bit of an unknown quantity to opposition defenders — just like 18-year-old Michael Owen at the 1998 World Cup. The similarities are there. Rashford does not look like he’s overawed. Good luck to him.”
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