Man Utd striker Marcus Rashford has been ‘given hope’ by Gareth Southgate that he could feature for England at this winter’s World Cup.
The forward was part of England’s squad at the 2021 European Championships, but he was more of a squad player.
Rashford underwent shoulder surgery after the tournament and he was a shadow of his best self after returning to full fitness as he fell out of contention for England.
It was comfortably his most difficult season since breaking through as a regular for the Red Devils.
Rashford was linked with a move away during the summer, with Ligue 1 giants PSG among those understood to be keen.
This looked likely at one stage. His current contract expires in 2023 but United have the option to extend this by a further year.
But the attacker has been afforded a fresh start under Erik ten Hag and he has taken this with both hands.
United have come on strong after losing their first two Premier League games of the season. Rashford has been one of their standout players, grabbing three goals and two assists in six outings.
Asked about his player’s improved form, Ten Hag insisted that he “sees a happy Rashford”:
“Once again it is difficult for me to talk about the past,” Ten Hag said earlier this month.
“But what I see: I see a happy Marcus Rashford and I see some phases in his game that we could improve.
“And we worked really hard in the last two-and-a-half months with him on different aspects.
“He likes it, and he wants to transfer it to the pitch, and that is what you see in this moment.”
He added: “It started with happiness. He is coming here every day, he really enjoys it, he’s really smiling.
“He has a really positive vibe and if you put all of those things together with the way of play and you want to improve different aspects of your game and you are happy, you will contribute more to the team, to the performance, to the result, and also to your development.”
Rashford was backed by some to earn a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this month’s UEFA Nations League games.
But he missed out as a result of a muscle injury. ESPN report that Man Utd ‘are hopeful of having’ Rashford fit for the Manchester derby against Man City on October 3.
They also state that Rashford has been ‘given hope’ by Southgate that ‘he could still force his way’ into England’s squad for the World Cup. The tournament gets underway in November.
Anthony Martial is another player who is liked by Ten Hag and the Frenchman performed well during pre-season.
He has been out of action since August with an achilles injury and ESPN add that United are being ‘more cautious’ with his recovery.