Former Manchester United favourite Lee Sharpe has tipped Marcus Rashford to shine for England at the World Cup but questioned his handling by Jose Mourinho.
Rashford’s man-of-the-match performance against Costa Rica earlier this week, when he scored a wonderful effort from 25 yards, gave Gareth Southgate plenty to think about as he ponders the best options to support Harry Kane in attack.
Rashford could be going head to head with Raheem Sterling and Sharpe would like to see the Three Lions boss place his trust in the 20-year-old, who he believes is primed to flourish on the global stage.
“I think he could be huge for England at the tournament,” Sharpe told Press Association Sport.
“There are a few senior international defenders who will be absolutely petrified of him if he’s given licence to just run at people and do his stuff. He should be told to go and fill his boots and express himself.
“Rashford could scare people to death out there, score a few goals and win a few penalties.”
Sharpe, who burst through the Red Devils youth ranks under Sir Alex Ferguson before Rashford was even born, has been less impressed with the player’s recent experiences at United.
Having emerged out of nowhere as a match-winning 18-year-old, the forward has had to settle for a lesser role since Mourinho settled into the manager’s office at Old Trafford.
He started just four Premier League games since the turn of the year, sharing game time with Anthony Martial and slipping down the pecking order after the arrival of Alexis Sanchez.
“I think he’s been a little bit harshly treated, dipping in and out of the team has not helped him,” said Sharpe.
“It doesn’t seem like Jose Mourinho is building a team around him and he’s never been one for putting young ones in.
“Having been a similar age in a similar sort of position to Marcus, I know how it feels and even though you get the odd week where you get tired you need to get that rhythm and to feel the
manager is backing you. Sanchez coming in and taking a place hasn’t helped him.
“To be in and out just isn’t great and it’s also a little tough for him being in a team who aren’t playing fluently, moving the ball around and dominating.”