Marcus Rashford has opened up about the learning experience that came with featuring for England at Euro 2016.
The 18-year-old was rewarded for a sensational rise to stardom at Manchester United last season with a place in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad at Euro 2016.
Rashford didn’t receive an opportunity to start any of England’s four games but impressed as a substitute against Wales and Iceland.
Speaking to ManUtd.com, the youngster noted that playing at a major tournament served as an excellent learning experience.
“International football is different to club football so just to play those games was valuable for me and my career,” he said.
“Obviously I wasn’t happy with the outcome of the tournament but the experience that I got there was very good. I’ve played international games for the Under-21s as well and its a similar experience.
“It’s played at a different pace and the more international games I can get, the better it will be for me.”
Perhaps Rashford’s finest quality is his complete disregard for context. No matter how big the stage, no matter how poorly his side plays, the 18-year-old produces the same level of tenacity and verve.
England’s defeat to Iceland, one of the gloomiest chapters in the national side’s history, serves as a potent example: Roy Hodgson’s men were inexplicably 2-1 down, minutes away from another episode of worldwide humiliation. Every player pensively charged across the pitch with a sense of desperation, trying and inevitably failing to force the issue. The psychological impasse at major tournaments strikes again – until, of course, Rashford comes on.
The 18-year-old couldn’t influence the result, but he brought something practically unknown to the England side – fearlessness. In just four minutes he’d made more successful dribbles than any other England player. Suddenly there was life, but it was too late.
Maybe Rashford, being characteristically humble, got it the wrong way around: he shouldn’t be the one learning from his experience with the England side; the England side should be learning from their experience with him.