Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford will NOT be fast-tracked through the England ranks, insists Under-21s head coach Gareth Southgate.
The 18-year-old has scored five goals in his first eight senior appearances for the Red Devils this season, including the winner in last week’s Manchester derby.
Yet many have been surprised that the striker has only been called up to England’s Under-20s side during the international break.
Rashford has previously played for the Under-16s and Under-18s and his form has led to speculation over a possible senior call-up.
The links of Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all bumped up to the senior Three Lions side early in their careers, but Southgate is wary of rushing Rashford’s development, despite the blistering start to his career.
“Probably the top talents in the world get into first teams very young and establish themselves very young,” he said ahead of England’s Under-21 European Championship qualifier in Switzerland on Saturday.
“We are very conscious that when you promote a young player too quickly there can be fallout from that and at times the right thing is to move them back down and that is always more difficult.
“Life is very different for someone like Marcus, who has just scored the winner in a Manchester derby.
“At club level, at some point he might find himself in their under-21s side and that is a difficult process for a young person to deal with, so we don’t want to add to that internationally.
“Let’s assess his progress. There is no rush. Roy has got a very settled squad and is very strong in that area of the pitch. Everyone I speak to at United says he’s very level-headed, so they don’t have concerns about his mentality, but of course his world has changed dramatically in the last few weeks.”