Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford has been tipped to start ahead of Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling for England by BBC pundit Kevin Kilbane. The forward, who replaced Sterling as a second half substitute during the Three Lions’ 2-1 defeat of Tunisia had a positive impact on proceedings, and came close to breaking the deadlock before Harry Kane’s late header sealed victory for Gareth Southgate’s side. Rashford may be coming off the back of an uneven season for United, but Kilbane still believes that he should get the nod ahead of both Sterling and his club teammate, Jesse Lingard.
“Personally I think England should always find a way to get Rashford into the side,” Kilbane said on the BBC. “I think technically he’s as good as anyone within the side, within the tournament even. I would probably try and get away with maybe getting three attackers in with him, instead of maybe Jesse Lingard. I’d play him ahead of Raheem Sterling as well, I would, I know Sterling’s off the back of a good season. But personally I think Marcus Rashford is better than the two of them, I do.”
One does wonder if Rashford’s positive influence on proceedings on Monday evening will be enough to force his way into Southgate’s plans going forward. England are next in action against Panama on Sunday afternoon, with a victory all-but confirming their passage to the last 16, and Rashford’s tendency to play direct could be highly useful against an opposition that sat deep in their own opening World Cup game, a 3-0 defeat to Belgium. Lingard’s greater experience may be enough to earn him the nod in the starting XI, with the United academy product coming off the back of his most productive season ever, but it’s impossible to deny Rashford’s qualities when the young man plays for England. As such, his ability to excite might be enough to earn him the nod this weekend.