It is expected that Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford will keep his place in England’s starting lineup for their qualifying match against Malta on Friday evening.
Despite some indifferent and underwhelming performances for his club so far this season, the 26-year-old, who has 17 goals in 57 caps for England, is expected to start on the left-hand side of a front three, keeping out the likes of Manchester City duo Phil Foden and Jack Grealish.
England qualified for UEFA EURO 2024 last month with an impressive 3-1 defeat of European champions Italy at Wembley Stadium. Rashford, assisted by Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham, scored the goal that put the English ahead in that match.
For Manchester United so far this season, as they struggle in the UEFA Champions League, sit outside the top four in the Premier League and have already been knocked out in the EFL Cup, Rashford has managed to score just one goal in 16 appearances across all competitions.
That form contrasts to his excellent performances last year, where he scored 30 goals in 56 matches; the first time he had 30 in a season during his career.
In what is England’s penultimate qualifying match ahead of the UEFA European Championships, there is extra scrutiny and significance placed upon Gareth Southgate’s selections and decisions. After the game against Malta at Wembley, The Three Lions will travel to Skopje on Monday to face North Macedonia. Before the tournament, though, they will only have friendlies against Belgium and Brazil in March to figure out any issues with their side.
Phil Foden has had a much-improved campaign this season in terms of overall influence but hasn’t been as effective in front of goal as he was last season just yet. Jack Grealish, on the other hand, has been preferred in big games for City, such as their 3-0 demolition of Manchester United a few weeks ago, but now faces stiff competition from Jeremy Doku on City’s left wing.