Jose Mourinho to make Marcus Rashford plea as he considers squad rotation
Jose Mourinho will request that Marcus Rashford does not represent England in the Under-21 European Championships if he has established himself as a regular in the senior national squad by next summer.
The Manchester United forward, who turns 19 on the last day of this month, has been the subject of conjecture, with FA sources insisting they want players of his calibre to appear in the under-21 tournament in Poland next June.
The idea forms part of the FA’s plan to hand their emerging stars experience in big tournaments to aid in their development towards the senior level.
But while his club manager insists he has no problem with Rashford playing in Poland, should he remain part of an under-21 squad now managed by Aidy Boothroyd, he will battle the FA on the subject if he has established himself in the senior squad by then.
“We are in mid-October, the Championships will be in the summer,” said the United manager. “I think we have to wait and see what happens until then.
“Because if the player becomes a regular in the A national team, if you want to call it that. If he becomes a regular in the A 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, and then we are going to play him in the under-23 Championship because we want to beat somebody and he can give us a help in that.
“Let’s see what happens. If he’s an under-21 player in the national team, then he is an under-21 player and there is no discussion about that.
“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.”
Rashford has five caps to date, a goalscoring debut in a friendly against Australia last season, and four substitute appearances in European Championship finals and World Cup qualifiers.
Mourinho was speaking as he put the finishing touches to plans for the Europa League group game with Fenerbahce at Old Trafford.
The game could be the opportunity for Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to start, as Mourinho juggles his squad ahead of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.
Rooney has not started the last four United games and has also seen his international starting place disappear, under new manager Southgate.
“Wayne is working well, he is one of those responsible for the atmosphere for the players,” insisted Mourinho. “He is positive, he is a good example. We count on him to start or be on the bench. He will be there tomorrow.”