England boss says Manchester United striker’s “flexibility” will also stand him in good stead
Last Updated: 20/01/19 10:24pm
Marcus Rashford is a “tremendous talent” who will get better and better, says England manager Gareth Southgate.
Rashford has been key to Manchester United’s resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, netting five goals in his last six Premier League matches as United have won six on the bounce.
The Manchester-born attacker has also been in excellent form in an England shirt this season, scoring in both the home and away UEFA Nations League fixtures against 2010 World Cup winners Spain.
Speaking at a Football Writers’ Association tribute evening on Sunday, Southgate said Rashford’s confidence and maturity are what sets him apart from other talented young players.
“Given that he’s only 21, he will definitely continue to improve,” the England boss said.
“When you have a mindset like he has and a desire to be as good as he wants to be, then that will happen.
“He’s a tremendous talent, we’ve known that for a long time and with us, he’s scored three goals in the period after the World Cup.
“And he’s showing great signs with his club of maturing and getting stronger and playing with the belief – and that is so important for young players.”
Rashford has shown his versatility since bursting onto the scene in a United shirt at 18, demonstrating a willingness to play across the front line for both club and country.
Asked if Rashford’s best position is as a central striker, Southgate said: “I think that’s still to be decided really. He’s played a lot of his football as a number nine, he’s played a lot of his football either side of a front three.
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“In the modern game, I think flexibility, particularly in those attacking positions [is so important].
“When I think of United from years ago with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Wayne] Rooney, [Carlos] Tevez, all three of them would pop up in different areas of the pitch.
“That fluidity is difficult to mark, so I don’t think it’s important what his best position is but I think it’s important he is playing, and playing well, and developing and showing that confidence.”