Marcus Rashford has insisted that he is mentally ready to perform for England at Euro 2020 after a phone call with Gareth Southgate at the end of Manchester United’s gruelling season.
Rashford has played through the pain barrier this past year, clocking up 57 appearances at club level alone since the start of the season, despite carrying a foot injury during the final months of the campaign.
The 23-year-old is also managing a shoulder problem that may require surgery after this summer’s tournament, but scored on his return to international level while captaining England for the first time during Sunday’s 1-0 win over Romania.
Southgate spoke to Rashford after United’s defeat in the Europa League finaat the end of last month to check in on him but the forward – who is facing stiff competition for a starting place with England – feels ready to compete.
“For me nothing changes,” he said after the win at the Riverside Stadium. “I’m a person who wants to give their all for club and country and I’ll continue to do that. It’s as simple as that.
“[Southgate] rang me, just doing the things he’d normally do. We had obviously had a disappointing final and he gave me a couple of days to think about things and regroup mentally.
“When we had the chat I was more than ready mentally to join the team and get training again. When you lose a final you want to play the next game as quickly as possible.
“Football’s like that, there’s a lot of ups and a lot of downs and for me the best way to recover from a big down such as losing a final is to get back amongst the team and play the next game. Today I’m happy to get some minutes and win the game.”
Rashford will hope to earn a place in England’s starting line-up for Sunday’s Group D opening game against Croatia but has the likes of Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho all vying for a similar role.
The United forward would like to get the nod from Southgate but believes that every member of the squad will have a part to play this summer and anyone expecting the same 11 players to start every England game is “deluded”.
“Listen, don’t get me wrong everybody wants to be in the first XI but I think from my experience of being in tournaments you need a squad, you have to have players capable of coming on at different moments and giving that extra spark,” he said.
“I think in our squad we have that all over the pitch, so to be honest it’s not at the front of my mind. We go there as a squad that’s trying to win a tournament. Whether or not you’re starting in the first XI you’ve still got a massive role to play if we want to win the tournament.
“You’re being deluded if you expect 11 players to win 7 games and you’re playing games in a short space of time. The squad’s going have to be utilised and to be honest I’m excited and looking forward to it.”
Rashford added: “We have a lot of young talented players like the ones you mentioned, then a mix with a few older players who’ve played massive games for their clubs and have ultimately had a brilliant career internationally. I think we’ve got a good balance.
“It’s about depending on getting the best out of each 90 minutes and I’m sure that we have the squad to do that. The first XI is important but not the be all and end all because we’re going to need everyone to win a trophy.”
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