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Saturday 3 December 2016

Rashford gets England chance

Marcus Rashford Photo: PA
Marcus Rashford Photo: PA

Marcus Rashford will be given the chance to "knock someone off their perch" after Roy Hodgson included the uncapped 18-year-old in an expanded 26-man squad for Euro 2016.

Rashford, who has never even played for the under-21s, was the most eye-catching name announced by Hodgson at Wembley yesterday, having only made his Manchester United debut in February.

But seven goals in 16 appearances and an energetic, fearless approach have made him the chief beneficiary of Danny Welbeck's injury woe.

There is some irony in the fact that his inclusion comes ahead of Theo Walcott, who was handed a shock call-up at 17 for the 2006 World Cup having yet to feature for the Arsenal first team.

Andros Townsend was also preferred after his renaissance at Newcastle, while Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson were present after returning to fitness just in time.

With Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy all ahead of him in the pecking order, Rashford is the likeliest forward to miss the cut but Hodgson insists that is not written in stone.

Rashford may get just one opportunity - against Australia on May 27 - with the FA Cup final ruling him out of the Turkey friendly and Hodgson keen to go into the Wembley send-off against Portugal with his final 23, but he has already shown an aptitude for making a big impression in a small time-frame.

"He's one of the contenders, of course. There's no reason, if he does exceptionally well, why he can't knock someone off their perch," said Hodgson.

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