Reports claim Marcus Rashford will be demoted to the bench when England play Senegal in the World Cup last-16 on Sunday despite his displays in Qatar.
The Manchester United striker has bagged three goals for the Three Lions in the Middle East showpiece. He found the net in the opening 6-2 rout of Iran. And the 25-year-old notched a brace as Gareth Southgate’s men advanced to the knockout stage with a 3-0 triumph over Wales.
He fired a superb free-kick beyond Danny Ward on 50 minutes. And, after Phil Foden has added England’s second, he shot through Ward’s legs for the third in the 68th minute.
His Doha display had pundits gushing. Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson admitted he would have loved the United star in his side.
And ex-Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino labelled him a ‘great player’.
Rashford and Foden joined Harry Kane as Southgate rung the changes for the Wales encounter.
However, it does not seem as though he has done enough to earn a start against the Africans.
Foden has been tipped to retain his starting spot with Bukayo Saka returning to the fold.
The change in personnel means Raheem Sterling is unlikely to get the nod from the start. And Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount has been touted for a return to the starting XI.
While Sterling’s omission is less of a shock, most pundits expected Rashford to keep his place up front.
However, it appears as though the United ace will have to bide his time and hope to see some action later in the contest.
Rashford out but Walker tipped to start
Southgate has many options open to him in terms of both players and formations. He opted for a back four against Robert Page’s side, with Kyle Walker in at right-back ahead of Kieran Tripper.
And it has also been reported that the Tottenham defender may well be handed a starting berth against Senegal.
However, there is a school of thought that the Spurs star could be rested for a potential quarter-final clash with France.
He would be up against superstar Kylian Mbappe – currently one of the toughest tests in the sport.
Much will depend on whether the manager opts for a back three as opposed to four.
The England team will officially be announced as the match approaches. But leaks from the camp have revealed Southgate’s attacking tactics for a game in which England are firm favourites.
Ex-England stars want Rashford to start
Rashford’s possible omission is likely to see Southgate criticised. A thumping victory will silence the doubters.
But BBC experts Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand want him in the team.
Shearer’s preferred line-up sees the forward start alongside Mount and Foden, playing just behind Kane.
However, Ferdinand believes Saka would be a better choice ahead of Mount, with Rashford also in from the start.
Whether the leaked team news is correct only time will tell. But the fact Southgate has the luxury of leaving his in-form hitman on the bench proves England’s strength in depth.
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