Marcus Rashford says he will be happy to play for England Under-21s at the European Championships in Poland this summer, but that it will not be his decision, with a potential row brewing between Jose Mourinho and the Football Association.
In his one of his first interviews outside the club, the teenage striker did not say explicitly that he wanted to play for Aidy Boothroyd’s team for whom he scored a hat-trick on his debut against Norway in a qualifier in September. Since then, Rashford has been selected by Gareth Southgate in the subsequent three senior squads and is a contender to start against Lithuania in the World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Mourinho said last year that it made “no sense” for Rashford to be moved back to the Under-21s for the tournament in the summer. At the previous Championships, Harry Kane and John Stones both represented the Under-21s despite having already made their senior debuts.
Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, Rashford said that the decision would not be his own but that he would embrace the challenge if given the chance. “It is up to the coaching staff and the managers to decide if I go to that. But if I do go, I’ll be approaching it with the same attitude as I do to the seniors. It is exciting times.
“Getting tournament experience is massive, as long as everything is aiming towards the long-term objective, we obviously want to be successful and win trophies. So whatever we have to do to get to that, whether it is going down to gain the experience, everyone is happy to do that.”
Rashford said that he wanted “to make history for my club and the country”. “I’m a completely different player now compared to where I was this time last season. People don’t always look at that, they look at the results but they don’t look at what you do to get the results. When it all comes together people will start to realise.
“My overall game [has changed]. I’ve been playing in wider positions and now me knowing what the forwards wants helps me, and also helps me know that the winger wants when I get in the middle.
“The modern-day forward and attacker is not just a No 9 or No 10 or just a winger. It is someone who can interchange between the positions if they are needed to. I think I’m a No 9 but if I have to move to other positions for certain games it is what you have to do and it is part of your attributes.”
Rashford’s friend and United team-mate Jesse Lingard says that the video he posted from the team bus that came under attack from West Ham fans last season became such an internet sensation that he found out it had been circulated while still on the bench at Upton Park.
Lingard attracted a certain degree of notoriety for filming himself lying on the floor as the bus had bottles thrown at it by fans before the club’s last game at the stadium. Lingard, who made his England debut under Southgate in October said that he had posted it originally on his private Snapchat feed.
“That shouldn’t really have got out,” he said. “One of my friends must have snaked me out and took the video without my knowing. I didn’t find out until midway through the game, I was on the bench and was told by one of the masseurs that it was my video that got leaked.
“I was thinking that it couldn’t have because it was on my private Snapchat. Things happen and I have still the footage from that day. It is just memories. As soon as I get on the pitch it is all hard work and I have to concentrate on winning.
“No one’s going to like everything you do and no one’s going to not like everything you do. At that time you could see it all happening and at that time obviously the first thing I did was pull my phone out and start recording. It’s just another memory slide in the bank, I guess.”