England boss Gareth Southgate expects Marcus Rashford to continue best serving club and country as a “wide raider” rather than as a central striker.
The Manchester United forward started on the left of a three-man attack and won a penalty as Southgate’s men eased to a 4-0 victory over Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying on Saturday.
Harry Kane struck a hat-trick in the Wembley win to underline his status as England’s premier centre-forward amid United’s attempts to use Rashford in that role.The 21-year-old started through the middle against Southampton the previous weekend but failed to fire as his Premier League goalless streak stretched to three games.
“Although we have for a long time almost wanted Marcus to be that option as a nine, I’m still not certain that that is where he is happiest and where he does his best work,” Southgate said.“A lot of his development at United was as a wide raider and he isn’t as strong as Harry with his back to goal and holding play up.”
“A lot of his best work is in that inside-left channel, coming in off the line, and I don’t think that’s a problem.“I just think we have to be aware that’s probably his profile and to get the best out of him they are the areas of the pitch that we need to get him into regularly.”
England captain Kane is enjoying a more prolific start to the season, the Tottenham talisman having netted six goals in five competitive appearances for club and country.
The World Cup Golden Boot winner is up to 25 in 40 games for the Three Lions and Southgate thinks he could threaten Wayne Rooney’s all-time record of 53.He said: “There’s a reason that only Bobby [Charlton] and Gary [Lineker] and Wayne have got [to around 50 goals], because it’s such a hard challenge to stay fit, the number-one choice, focused and motivated for the long period that you need to be able to get the games and get those goals.“But if anybody has that strength of mentality, it’s Harry.”