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5 Mar 2018

Mourinho brushes off Rashford concerns as World Cup looms

Jose Mourinho has played down concerns over Marcus Rashford’s lack of game time for Manchester United as the World Cup looms, saying England boss Gareth Southgate will pick the forward if he trusts him.
File: Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford (2nd R) is fouled in the penalty area by Benfica's Greek midfielder Andreas Samaris (R) leading to a penalty scored by Manchester United's Dutch midfielder Daley Blind during the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Manchester United and Benfica at Old Trafford. Photo: AFP
The 20-year-old made an immediate impact when he made his debut for the club two years ago and was fast-tracked into Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad.

Rashford has won 15 caps and become an important member of the England set-up but manager Southgate is reported to be concerned about his lack of starts for United ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

However, Mourinho has played down concerns over a player who last started a Premier League match on Boxing Day.

“No, I don’t reassure anyone,” the United boss said ahead of his side’s match against Crystal Palace on Monday. “The main reassurance for him is that he is always selected.

“There is not one single match when Marcus is not selected to start or to be on the bench.”

Mourinho cited Sergio Romero as an example of a player who does not play regularly for his club but who plays for his country. Romero is Manchester United’s reserve goalkeeper but is first choice for Argentina.

“So, it’s up to Gareth Southgate,” said Mourinho. “If he trusts him, he selects him. It doesn’t matter if he plays or if he doesn’t play for Manchester United.”

Mourinho says Rashford remains a key player at United, with his ability to play in different attacking positions.

“At his age, what he’s doing is more than enough and the experience he’s getting at every level is more than enough for us to be happy with what we think is going to be his future,” Mourinho said. “It’s as simple as that.

“But because he had such an impact at the beginning, probably people expect him to play even more than he does and score even more than he does and perform even more than what he does but it is not so simple.”

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