Rio Ferdinand: Marcus Rashford must play for England against Malta

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Marcus Rashford must feature in England’s World Cup qualifier against Malta next week.

The 18-year-old was left out of Sam Allardyce’s England squad after not receiving a sufficient level of game time during the early stages of Jose Mourinho’s reign.

However, since his omission from the England squad, the youngster has wreaked havoc under Mourinho, netting four goals and in turn reportedly receiving the opportunity to reassert himself on the national side after Harry Kane picked up an injury.

Ferdinand believes the youngster simply must receive a chance to feature against Malta on October 8.

“I think Marcus Rashford should be selected for the senior squad next week and be unleashed against Malta,” he said.

“Including his hat-trick for the U21s against Norway earlier this month, no English striker has scored more goals since he made his professional debut in February.

“I don’t care how old you are, that record warrants a place in the squad.

“He has been the best striker in this country since February in terms of output – the statistics don’t lie.”

Ferdinand makes a very pertinent point: Rashford now has 12 goals in 2016, more than any other English player. What is astonishing is that a lot of these goals came from the 18-year-old playing out wide.

Those who rely on stats have to admit that Rashford is England’s best option up front. And those, like myself, who take stats with a pinch of salt, preferring instead to observe the game in a more holistic sense, also have to admit that Rashford is the most devastating striker in this country at the moment.

Nobody comes close to eclipsing the sheer energy and raw attacking zeal hallmarking the youngster’s game at this given time, and a place in England’s starting XI seems like the logical conclusion for a national side currently mired in turmoil and confusion.

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