Ex-Tottenham star Jenas makes bold call for inclusion of forward in England’s World Cup opener

Will Sewell
Jermain Jenas talking about Marcus Rashford

Match Of The Day and BT Sport pundit Jermaine Jenas has backed Marcus Rashford to reclaim his place in England’s starting line-up for their World Cup opener in Qatar.

Writing in his BBC Sport column, the former Spurs midfielder backed the Rashford to take up his place on the left-hand-side of England’s front three.

The forward has impressed for United in recent weeks, and his header to secure a 1-0 victory over West Ham at the weekend was enough to convince Jenas that he should feature when England line up to face Iran in their opening Group B game on 21 November.

“Based on his performance, Rashford is more than just a player who 100% has to be in the Three Lions squad,” wrote Jenas.

“Instead, after watching him at Old Trafford on Sunday, England boss Gareth Southgate will be thinking Rashford might have to start their first game.”

Rashford was not included in Southgate’s most recent England squad, which seemed to signal his omission for the World Cup but based on current form Jenas now sees the 25-year-old not only making the plane but playing a major role.

Jenas believes Rashford has discovered a newfound confidence since reprising his position on the left-wing of United’s front three and that this has led to a change in fortunes.

“I have never really seen Rashford as an out-and-out centre-forward who would perform that role. For me, his best position is coming in off the left flank as a wide forward – like he did against West Ham.

“We know how good Rashford is when he is on form, but that was not the case last season. His confidence was knocked so badly that he looked a shell of himself, but he seems to have come back with a new lease of life since the start of this campaign.”

Given this scenario, Jenas believes Chelsea winger Raheem Sterling would be the one to miss out.

“Sterling’s form for Chelsea has been indifferent, but in his defence, he has had to play in several different formations for Thomas Tuchel and now Graham Potter after moving to Stamford Bridge last summer.

“He is not reaching the heights he did when he was at City, but in the circumstances that’s hardly a surprise.”

Sterling has always performed for Southgate, and the England boss is famously loyal to his players, however if Rashford’s form continues then calls for his inclusion in the starting XI in Qatar will certainly grow.

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