Rashford's U-21 debut gives Jose and Sam food for thought
Hat-trick hero Marcus Rashford hopes he has sent a message to Sam Allardyce and Jose Mourinho after his England U21 debut treble.
The Manchester United striker scored three in front of senior boss Allardyce to help the Young Lions to a 6-1 rout of Norway.
Rashford was left out of Allardyce’s first senior squad for their 1-0 win in Slovakia on Sunday after playing at Euro 2016 and scoring on his debut against Australia in May.
But his goals, including a penalty to complete the treble, powered the U21s to within one win of qualifying for Euro 2017 and Rashford is hopeful Allardyce will have taken notice.
“It means a lot (that Allardyce was here). It’s the England seniors, there is a new manager and they are doing well. Everyone is working hard to get into that side, so it was important that he was here to see our development,” he told BT Sport.
“It was a good debut to have. It was a strong performance from the boys. Norway played well, despite the scoreline. We worked hard for the whole 90 minutes and I think in the end we deserved the result.
“I’d say the penalty was my favourite, to be honest. It was the first penalty I have scored since I have been a professional.”
The goals mean Rashford will head into the Manchester derby on Saturday on a high and he wants to use his performance as a reminder to United boss Mourinho.
He added: “That’s all you want to do as a young player, give your manager a decision about whether to play you. I’m just looking forward to it.”
England U21 boss Gareth Southgate was full of praise for Rashford and believes Allardyce will eventually have a selection headache ahead of next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.
“I’ll speak to Sam in the next couple of days I’m sure, but I’m sure it’s given him food for thought. But he’ll be pleased with some of the performances of his players on Sunday,” he said.
“What we saw all week (from Rashford) we saw tonight, so I wasn’t surprised in any way. I don’t think anyone can rubbish the experience, the key is if they come down they get to play and put on a show like that.
“The Under-21 group is tight-knit and they are welcoming to newcomers, but they have high expectations for them to work the way we work. If they don’t match that the group will sort them out quickly.’’
Rashford was substituted late on and Southgate admitted he could not resist a little joke with the 18-year-old as he came off.
He added: “I just said, ‘You’ve enjoyed your week haven’t you?’. I was tempted to say, ‘It was nice working with you’.”
Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Lewis Baker were also target and England are now two points clear in Group Nine with a trip to Kazakhstan and a home game against Bosnia and Herzegovina at Walsall to come in October.