Rashford made his Manchester United debut against FC Midtjylland in February 2016 after being promoted to the starting line-up because of an injury to Anthony Martial in the warm-up. The forward was only 18, but scored twice to help United go through and having seized his opportunity, he made such an impression for the rest of the season that he forced his way into England’s Euro 2016 squad. Fast forward two years later and Rashford has gone from being England’s most exciting teenage prospect to a 20-year-old struggling to get games at Old Trafford. Incredibly, Rashford has not started a Premier League game since Boxing Day and, having started United’s last two FA Cup ties, may hope to get a run-out against Huddersfield this weekend. Whether the odd chance in the FA Cup will be enough to maintain Rashford’s progress is one thing and, even more worrying, if he is not starting games regularly then he will be worried about his England place. It has become even more acute after the arrival at Alexis Sanchez, below, at Old Trafford as Rashford’s chances may become even more limited. Rashford has major competition with Sanchez, Anthony Martial and the outstanding progress of Jesse Lingard. All those worrying predictions about Jose Mourinho not giving home-grown players a chance seem to be coming true as far as Rashford is concerned. But the truth is that Mourinho has promoted Lingard, Scott McTominay is getting games and even The Special One recognises United’s proud history of always using youngsters. Rashford have to copy the success of his teammate,
Southgate said last month that Sanchez’s arrival would impact upon Rashford but the best players respond to competition and raise their game. That has to be the case for Rashford now if he is to have a major impact for England at the World Cup this summer.

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