Marcus Rashford's Euro call-up is a mistake

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Marcus Rashford's rise to prominence in recent months has been nothing short of astounding and the 18-year-old Manchester United striker is certainly a hugely exciting prospect with bags of talent. His eight goals in the latter stages of the season ignited a fairly dire United side going forward and he deserves all the plaudits he is getting.

However, his inclusion in Roy Hodgson's 23-man England squad for Euro 2016 may just be a mistake. Whilst Rashford is highly talented, his ability doesn't command a starting gig just yet and his skill set is very similar to that of some of the other forwards in the squad.

There is no doubt that the United striker can become a world class striker in the future but realistically that is a long way off. He isn't a transformative talent like a Messi or Ronaldo and is likely the fifth choice forward in the squad, meaning he may not even get on the pitch in France.


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Exposing a future England star to the international setup is important but is this really the right time to do so? According to Harry Redknapp, the teenager will not play in the Euro's and so is it worth taking him rather than a backup in another area of the pitch where depth may be more important?

Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane are likely to compete for starting spots with Daniel Sturridge the main bench option for Roy Hodgson and in key games, it isn't likely he will throw a teenager into the fray if a goal is desperately required ahead of any of the aforementioned players.

One must remember the impact that an 18-year-old Michael Owen had on the 1998 World Cup but also consider that Owen was one of only four strikers in that squad, meaning playing time was almost inevitable. Including another midfield player or central defender might have been a better option for Hodgson this time around and this decision may end up coming back to haunt him if injuries take their toll in other areas of the pitch.

If the England manager had plans to give Rashford significant game time it might be a different story but as Redknapp added: "In all honesty, I can't really see him playing. I like him and he's going to be a real player in the future.

"But we've got Kane, we've got Vardy, we've got Sturridge, we've got Rooney - I think he (Hodgson) has got a lot of options up front."

Hodgson himself has even changed his views drastically on the 18-year-old as just over a month ago he stated that Rashford's inclusion was unlikely.

"I think it would be a very bold decision to put him in [the full England squad] and I think that would mean possibly leaving someone behind who, in my opinion, has more reason to be called up.

"Does he have a very bright future? Yes. Is it inconceivable he could go with England? It's not inconceivable but it is looking unlikely to me with the players we already have and the competition for places in that area."

Rashford has put in some stellar performances over this time period but he hasn't done anything that should've changed the England manager's mind that fast. It should not be forgotten that the United man is just 18 and although a small minority of teenagers in this history of the game have been successful on the biggest stages at such a precious age, the demands and pressures of the situation might just be too much for him.

Not to mention the physical demands, the kinds of which the young man has never faced before, after a breakout season in which he will have played more football than ever before, his body will be straining and injury is a very real possibility.

Youthful exuberance can only carry a player so far and playing against fit and strong mature adults will have worn on Rashford who is still really just a kid.

It just does not seem worth it to take him just to expose him to an environment which he will inevitably return to later in his career and see him just sit on the bench taking up a valuable squad place that could've gone to a rotation player who deserves a chance.

Danny Drinkwater could especially count himself unlucky as he could've been a key bench player in France. Rashford and Hodgson could prove everyone wrong and he might end up getting some game time and making an impact, but it just seems too much too soon and his inclusion is not necessary due to the depth England have within their forward group.

The teenager is undoubtedly blessed with talent and is a hugely exciting prospect for the future, but that's all he is right now, a prospect who has excelled over a month or two and has yet to prove his worth over any considerable period of time.

There have been plenty of talented youngsters in years past who have shown promise and faded away and whilst Rashford does look like he can kick on, it is too soon to start heralding him as an international starlet. Let's just hope it isn't a call that Hodgson is left to rue in the future.

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Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Daniel Drinkwater
England Football
Premier League
Daniel Sturridge

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