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Friday 19 October 2018

Southgate: 'Jose thinks the world of Rashford'

Marcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford

Gareth Southgate is not fretting about Marcus Rashford's lack of game time at Manchester United because he knows Jose Mourinho "thinks the world" of the striker.

Rashford has managed just one start and a total of 122 minutes in the Premier League this season, a situation that will not improve in the short term due to a three-game ban for butting Burnley's Phil Bardsley.

In contrast, the 20-year-old found himself cast in the starring role for Southgate's England over the past week, scoring both of the team's goals against Spain and Switzerland and looking every inch an international-class forward. Back at Old Trafford he will once again be vying for selection with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial but Southgate takes a pragmatic view of his situation.

"It's not my business to interfere with club managers," said the Three Lions boss as United prepare for a visit to Watford, one of only three clubs to still possess a 100 per cent start to the Premier League season.

"They have a difficult job to do and they have big squads at the top six, with huge competition for places.

"Jose thinks the world of Marcus. He's a huge admirer of him, but he has got his job to do.

"There is huge competition for places at his club so you can understand that. I understand the difficulties that club managers have.

"They have to try and win matches. They have to rotate their squads.

Confidence

"We really wanted to make Marcus feel important over this period.

"It was important especially to get him in the penalty box and remembering the areas he needs to be scoring goals from.

"His confidence will be boosted I'm sure, with two goals against top-quality opposition."

Meanwhile, Watford boss Javier Gracia has played down suggestions tomorrow's opponents United are in crisis.

With four wins from four games, the Hornets are buzzing in third place behind Liverpool and Chelsea.

United, meanwhile, have lost two of theirs and boss Jose Mourinho is embattled ahead of the Premier League clash at Vicarage Road.

Gracia said: "I don't understand that word 'crisis'. I don't know if they are in crisis.

"I only know they have a very good squad and they can choose different players, most of them internationals.

"I'm sure they play with 11 very good players and it will be very hard for us.

"But at this moment, playing at home, we feel we have the confidence to compete and to try to get points.

"The results help us to feel we can do it, but I know it's only the feeling, because you have to do many things to win."

Former United midfielder Tom Cleverly (Achilles) and Gerard Deulofeu (groin) are the only injury absentees for Watford.

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