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Marcus Rashford to train with England ahead of Euro 2016?

News emerged from Sky Sports on Friday that teenaged striker Marcus Rashford has impressed Roy Hodgson and, as a result, has been invited to train with England during Euro 2016. Whether or not he is selected as part of the full squad remains to be seen, but the call up is less surprising than it seems, and far less surprising than it would’ve seemed back in January.

Since the turn of the year, Rashford has been called into selection by United manager Louis van Gaal because of injuries. Anthony Martial’s injury in the warmup before United played FC Midtjylland in the second leg of their Europa League tie created room for Rashford, and the striker coolly scored two goals to send United to the Round of 16.

Rashford’s impact continued throughout the year, as the striker went on to score five goals and rack up two assists since his debut in February. Rashford’s goals have been timely as well, with some of his strikes including a brace against Arsenal at Old Trafford and United’s sole strikes against Aston Villa and Manchester City late in the season. If United is to make the top four and qualify for Champions League football next year, Rashford will be considered one of the key players involved.

Rashford’s call up is especially interesting because the striker has never been involved in England’s U21 setup. Though he has been a regular at U18 and U16 levels for England, he never made the step up to England’s biggest youth team, and somehow he skipped from the U18 level to Premier League and potential national glory.

Unfortunately for Rashford, despite being invited to train with the squad, Sky Sources say he will not be a part of the squad that heads to France this summer. Rashford’s emergence has been phenomenal, but probably not timely, as it was probably too late to alter selections in the England setup. Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge look most likely to represent England up top, and for Rashford to break into such an established setup would be difficult.

The arrangement for Rashford to train with England is thought to be similar to that of John Stones and Jon Flanagan before the World Cup in 2014, and Rashford’s experiences around the Euros could be beneficial to his fitness, motivation and experience as a first team striker. He looks likely to be a part of United’s plans next season despite being just 18 years of age, though he may not win a starting role.

Rashford’s story will be inspiring for any young English player on the verge of being involved in their team’s plans for next season. It also represents a big statement from United’s youth academy, which has been heavily criticized in comparison to Manchester City’s. United’s U21’s have won three Premier League’s in a row now, and chances are there are many players like Rashford waiting to be handed their opportunity.

Not too long ago, United youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah was named in the Dutch senior squad despite the fact he just turned 18. Rashford and Fosu-Mensah could be the beginning of yet another generation of excellent United youth stars, and the fact they are already involved on the international setup is a huge step. United fans will want to see Rashford on England’s Euro roster, as Hodgson is set to name his squad on Monday. To see a down-to-earth United youth product rise to stardom is quite spectacular on its own, but on Monday there is a small chance Rashford will take another huge step.

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