Rashford out of England squad Euro 2020 qualifiers

Tanya Simon
March 22, 2019

"However, I am just as proud of my family's Irish heritage and my affinity and connection with the country".

But it could be another youngster, Jadon Sancho, who makes hay in Rashford's absence with the Borussia Dortmund winger - linked to line up alongside the striker at Manchester United next season - reportedly Southgate's pick to start at Wembley on Friday.

Gareth Southgate said the controversy surrounding Declan Rice will not affect whether or not the West Ham midfielder makes his England debut in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Czech Republic.

'These stories have an uncanny habit of appearing and you don't know how they've happened, ' Southgate said with a wry smile. 'But, certainly, when you were looking at what the next few years could look like, and you knew that the team who had won the Under 20s World Cup and the team who had won the 17s and the 19s Euros, there were some really exciting players.

"Throughout the age groups they've been very similar in their development". 'But I think from the first game that I took, there has been something every time.

Asked how he thinks England supporters will react to Rice, Southgate replied: "I think they will understand both the situation he's found himself in, in transferring across [national teams], and the situation he's found himself [with the social media post]". We've got some 19- and 20-year-olds. Most people will have children of those kind of ages.

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'I think regardless of where the tournament is played, we want to be consistently reaching the latter stages of competitions and knocking on the door, ' he said. They are still maturing. You've just got to get on and deal with them in the best way you can'.

"But sometimes, when the pool is smaller, which is going to be the case for England whilst I'm the England manager, then you have to be a bit more creative in the way you think and you have to approach things and solve the problem in a different way".

"The future is bright really with all the young players coming through and how well they are doing, that's really good for England".

"As you can hear, I am English".

London-born Rice won three global caps for the Republic of Ireland during friendlies, but switched allegiance last month and declared himself eligible to play for England instead.

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