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Gareth Southgate may let Marcus Rashford play for England Under-21s

Gareth Southgate may let Marcus Rashford play for England Under-21s
By PA Sport

01/12/2016 at 15:07Updated 01/12/2016 at 15:12

New England boss Gareth Southgate has hinted he may allow Marcus Rashford to turn out for the Under-21s at next summer's European Championships.

The 19-year-old Manchester United forward burst onto the scene last season, impressing at Old Trafford before scoring on his England debut in the friendly win over Australia.

Rashford dropped down to the Under-21s, then managed by Southgate, when he was overlooked by Sam Allardyce for what turned out to be his only fixture in charge.

He struck a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Norway while with the Young Lions and went on to make substitute appearances in three of the four senior games which Southgate oversaw as interim manager.

Now appointed on a full-time basis, Southgate joked he would not allow any eligible talent to go with the Under-21s to Poland, before naming Rashford as the type of player who may benefit from the experience.

Rashford's game time at England's ill-fated Euro 2016 was severely limited and Southgate believes he could be allowed to link up with the Under-21s - who won the Toulon Tournament over the summer - to continue his development.

"As we go forward, the summer is a good opportunity for a group of players who have worked incredibly hard to get to those finals to build on what they did in Toulon last summer," he said at his unveiling.

"Marcus would benefit from tournament football, but I'm conscious of his age and work-load over the season. So we will assess it and work out what is best for him.

"I'm excited by the current senior squad and the players coming through our development teams, we have had a reasonable amount of success and I pretty much know all of them.

"That is great position to be in as an organisation, a great opportunity to join up everything we have done at St George's Park, and we haven't been able to do that before because we never had a national home or a head coach who came through the system."

Should England qualify for the World Cup in Russia, it would come 12 months on from the Under-21s finals.

That could mean an awful lot of football for Rashford, something that would concern Jose Mourinho, his boss at Old Trafford, and put him in a similar position to Harry Kane.

The Tottenham forward was picked by Southgate for the last Under-21 European Championships in 2015 before another full season at White Hart Lane ended with the disappointment of Euro 2016.