England manager Gareth Southgate has expressed his thoughts on Marcus Rashford’s recent absence from the Three Lions squad.
The 25-year-old Manchester United forward was forced to withdraw from England duty ahead of this week’s Euro 2024 qualifiers after picking up a knock in their FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham.
Rashford, who has made 49 appearances in all competitions for club and country this season, required treatment after being hurt in the build-up to Aleksandar Mitrovic’s opener.
He was brought off with 83 minutes played against Marco Silva’s side.
This week, Rashford travelled to New York with his fiancee, Lucia Loi, and recently posted pictures of the mini-break on his social media channels.
The United forward, who was initially included in Gareth Southgate’s side for games against Italy and Ukraine, has withdrawn from five squads in total since 2020.
Speaking to reports in Italy this week, Southgate was asked about his absence and appeared to hint at some frustration.
“Well the feeling was he was playing really well, but we haven’t often had him,” Southgate said.
“So, in terms of a loss, when you haven’t had him that often then it’s different to being a loss. But without a doubt he was in good form. We were looking forward to seeing him.”
Following England’s impressive 2-1 win against Italy – their first win in the country for 62 years –talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino said Rashford may have damaged his reputation with the trip to New York.
“I would say your manager is not pleased with that,” the former Chelsea striker said.
“Why would he be? He even commented, Gareth hinted at his frustration with Rashford, he said, ‘Well, with his withdrawal, how can you decide on a player if he’s not present?’ He’s not been present enough.
“England were [likely] not aware of a trip to New York and that’s going to frustrate Gareth, because Gareth ultimately wants loyalty from his players.
“Some people will say he’s entitled to go on holiday, he’s injured.
“But when I made my debut for the Republic of Ireland, it was against Switzerland and Liam Brady, who had left Arsenal to join Juventus, met us in Switzerland for the game.
“We were already out of the competition by that point, really, we had nothing left to play for, but Liam still turned up. He was the best player at that time for Ireland. He was a major star in world football in the early 1980s.”
A reminder to Gareth Southgate that Marcus Rashford was turning up to England camp carrying injuries. 🙄
— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) March 25, 2023
Cascarino added: “He didn’t have to be there, because he wasn’t even 100 per cent fit to play, but he was still there. I remember thinking as a young player, ‘If Liam is turning up…’ – it was commitment of the highest level.
“Now, this isn’t commitment from Rashford and there will be an element of frustration from Southgate, without a doubt. He might say all the right things and say it isn’t an issue, but deep down he’ll probably be thinking, ‘We need more from Marcus’.
“He’s done brilliantly, he’s turned his career at Manchester United around fantastically.
“And, really, what he’s allowing is other players to come into the England squad and do really well. Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane – for me, that is England’s best three up front.
“Maybe Marcus feels, ‘I don’t want to be a sub and turn up for England to just sit on the bench’. Because even when he did really well at the World Cup in Qatar, he was still in and out of the team.”
“Southgate’s not pleased with that!” 👎
“Gareth’s hinted at his frustration over Rashford & #ENG weren’t aware of a trip to New York.” 🗽
“Gareth wants ultimate loyalty!”
🤔 Cascarino says it’s wrong of Marcus Rashford to go on holiday after withdrawing from the England squad! pic.twitter.com/HV1spYBtIN
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) March 25, 2023