Marcus Rashford full of confidence after ‘tough period’ with England, Manchester United
With nine goals in his last 10 games for Manchester United and England, forward Marcus Rashford says he has put a tough start to the season behind him and is feeling confident in front of goal once more.
The 22-year-old added that his return to form had been helped by a consistent run of games.
“It has been a tough period and now I’m getting consistent games and playing week in, week out,” said Rashford, who scored in both of England’s recent Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo. “As a forward that has huge importance.
“If you are not in the team and you’re in and out, you don’t quite have that confidence in front of goal. But when you’re having a run in the team it’s important to come up with the goods and once you start doing that it becomes second nature.”
England scored 11 goals in their last two qualifiers, and 37 in eight qualification matches, and Rashford said it was important to utilize all their attacking weapons.
“I have been in two tournaments now and the squad is so important,” he added. “With the qualities that every individual has in this team it is something we have to use to our advantage.
“People are going to be playing at different moments but when you are on the pitch you have to do your best, and try to come up with the goods. It is good competition.”
Rashford’s England manager Gareth Southgate, meanwhile, says that the Three Lions’ performances at the European Championship next year is likely to determine whether or not he is in charge at the 2022 World Cup.
“That will depend very much on how we get on next summer,” said Southgate, who will travel to Qatar to run the rule over England’s Liverpool players at the Club World Cup.
Qatar will also host the World Cup in 2022.
“When you have a week like you’ve had, you sense that people can fall out of love with you,” he added, referring to the backlash for dropping Raheem Sterling over disciplinary issues.
“If there isn’t a warmth for you to continue, then that can start to affect the team. I’m realistic about how quickly those tides can turn.”
Southgate, who took over the England role on a permanent basis in 2016 and has a contract until 2022, led the side to the World Cup semifinals last year and topped their Euro 2020 qualifying group to earn a seeding at the finals.
England are set to play their group stage matches at Wembley, which will also host the semis and final, and Southgate said he was aware of soaring expectations.
“We’ve dealt well with the expectation over the last 18 months,” he said. “We’ve not shirked from that in the qualifying matches where, in the past, there’s been a tension around the performances and the style of the games.
“Securing qualification is a little bit joyless because I’m expecting us to win these games and I’m always looking at how to get better… For me, it’s about what’s next and I know we’ll always be judged ultimately by the tournaments in the summer.”