England are looking to the Red Devils forward to star for them at World Cup 2018 and put the frustration of a lack of domestic starts behind him
Peter Crouch hopes Marcus Rashford’s confidence has not been “dented” ahead of England duty by a lack of club starts under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
The 20-year-old forward is considered to be a potential match winner for the Three Lions as they prepare to open their quest for World Cup glory in Russia.
But he found game time hard to come by at Old Trafford over the second half of the 2017-18 campaign, sparking questions over his confidence and future.
Rashford looked fresh enough when netting a spectacular goal in a pre-tournament friendly clash with Costa Rica and Crouch is looking for that spark to be maintained at the end of a frustrating domestic season.
The former England striker told the Daily Mail: “We can’t forget he’s only 20.
“He was playing up front for Manchester United at 18 so what he’s achieved so far isn’t really normal.
“Jack Butland always comes back to Stoke after international games raving about the quality of his finishing.
“He’s had a hard season and I just hope his confidence hasn’t been dented.
“He is such an exciting player – the type who will get you out of your seat.”
Rashford still managed a personal best 13-goal return for United last season, while taking in a total of 52 appearances.
Another Red Devils star to hit new heights in 2017-18 was Jesse Lingard – who managed eight goals and five assists – and Crouch believes he could be another game-changer for England.
“He never fails to impress me,” added a man who earned 42 caps for his country and graced the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals.
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“He’s got so much pace and that terrifies opponents. I played in England teams that had midfielders with great technical ability but this squad has a different dimension with its speed.
“I like the fact he is a home-grown Manchester United player: we need these characters.”
Rashford and Lingard will be pushing for starting berths when Gareth Southgate names his side for an opening World Cup 2018 clash with Tunisia on Monday, although the former is nursing a “slight niggle”.