England manager has been discussing Marcus Rashford‘s future with the national side, noting that the youngster forms an important part of his plans going forward.
The 19-year-old earned a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016 after following up a sensational opening campaign at Manchester United with a goal just three minutes into his England debut.
He was left out of Sam Allardyce’s first – and last – England squad but was immediately reintroduced by Southgate for games against Malta and Slovenia in October.
And Southgate, speaking ahead of England’s visit to Germany on Wednesday night, was full of enthusiasm when it came to hypothesising over Rashford’s future with the senior side.
“I thought Marcus was excellent for United in their FA Cup game in the game against Chelsea last week,” he said.
“He makes powerful runs in behind defenders, and for a lot of that game he had to play on his own and carry the fight.
“I liked his mentality when we had him with the under-21s. He was very mature, very humble. He wants to learn, wants to improve, has a good view on the game and for a young player I think he has intelligent input when you ask him tactical things. He is not afraid to voice that, even among older players.”
“I think he’s probably at the stage where he is young enough that he is not thinking about that. He’s just enjoying his football and he is playing in a good club side with some outstanding players around him.
“We like him. He’s not the finished article, obviously. There is still plenty for him to learn but he’s an exciting talent.”
You can rightly point towards Southgate’s lack of experience at this level when it comes to doubting his credentials as England manager, but one thing is obvious: the former Under 21s boss has a clear vision for the future.
His first England squad, at first glance, looked largely devoid of the usual experience seen in previous national sides, but that – as the man himself will probably tell you – is exactly the point: Southgate doesn’t want to call on players that have tasted failure on all too frequent basis in the past, opting instead for an unpredictable but nonetheless promising pool of young talent. And Rashford clearly features at the heart of this new vision going forward.