Jose Mourinho has revealed that Gareth Southgate told him Marcus Rashford will be included in the England national team for the 2018 World Cup, regardless of his playing time situation.
The 20-year-old Rashford had been limited to just four starts since the New Year, seeing his playing time dip with the arrival of Alexis Sanchez at Old Trafford.
However, Rashford made a big impact coming on as a substitute in United’s 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace last Monday, and then rewarded Mourinho’s decision to start him against Liverpool by scoring both Red Devils goals in a 2-1 win, earning plaudits against opposition that boasted a trio of more heralded attackers.
Rashford now has 12 goals in all competitions this year, with six of those tallies coming in the Premier League.
But while fans of both United and the Three Lions wring their hands over Rashford’s playing time and its impact on his international future, Mourinho offered assurances in the form of a promise he received from the England national team boss Southgate a few weeks back.
“I spoke with Gareth Southgate a few weeks ago and Gareth told me it doesn’t matter if he plays or he doesn’t play,” Mourinho told BBC 5 live Sport. “He trusts the kid and the kid goes to the World Cup.
“So he didn’t need to impress Gareth. Gareth knows what he is and Gareth knows that he can give us things at the World Cup.”
While that may have been news for fans and media, it may not have been to Rashford, who said post-game that he was never concerned about his place with England, adding that Southgate keeps players consistently updated as to their standing.
Meanwhile, Mourinho was delighted for Rashford’s success in the contest, as scoring against arguably the Red Devils’ biggest rivals had to be a great moment for a player who has been part of Manchester United’s club for so long.
Mourinho added: “[It was] obviously important for us, important for the kid and when you are a local boy and you are in the club since you are seven, eight or nine years old like he was, of course it is a special feeling for him to do that against Liverpool.”
Rashford and United will try to keep the good feelings going midweek when they face Sevilla in the Champions League last-16. The tie is scoreless with the second leg to take place at Old Trafford on Tuesday.