Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has backed Marcus Rashford to make England’s World Cup squad, despite the fact that the injured striker is likely to miss the Three Lions’ Nations League games later this month.
Rashford has made a promising start to the campaign for the Red Devils and was expected to be included in manager Gareth Southgate’s squad on Thursday for the upcoming clashes with Italy and Germany. But the 24-year-old remains in pain from the injury he picked up in the 3-1 Premier League success over Arsenal on September 4, when he scored twice to take his tally to three.
Having missed Manchester United’s Europa League opener – a 1-0 home loss to Real Sociedad – Rashford will also be absent for the visit of Sheriff Tiraspol tonight. “He is not available. The consequences after the game with Arsenal, Marcus has a muscle injury,” Ten Haag said at his press conference ahead of the match in Moldova.
Asked if Rashford could make England’s World Cup squad in Qatar, the Dutchman said: “Obviously he can. He has had many good seasons and at the start of this one marks an excellent return to the top level. Marcus has shown great potential and qualities. I don’t think he’s been away for long, but I can’t say when he will be back either. It’s not that bad and we expect it to be back with us very soon.”
For United, the meeting with Sheriff will be the last before a 17-day break. Sunday’s home game against Leeds has been postponed due to a lack of sufficient police, who are concentrating on the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. The Red Devils’ next game will be a city derby with English champions Manchester City on October 2. Sheriff beat Omonia 3-0 in Cyprus last week and have already proved a tough opponent in European club competitions. Last September, the Moldovans shocked Real Madrid in the Champions League with 2:1 on Spanish soil. “They beat Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk last year, they are capable of that.”
Cristiano Ronaldo was part of the 22-man squad that traveled to Moldova, although The Hague did not confirm whether the Portuguese would start in the away game. Luke Shaw also made the squad after missing two of the last three games with a minor foot injury. But Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Anthony Martial, Donnie van de Beek and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka joined Rashford on the injured list.