Marcus Rashford says England’s upcoming matches against Iceland and Denmark ‘came a little too soon’ and he’s ‘gutted’ to have to withdraw from Gareth Southgate’s squad.
The 22-year-old forward was initially selected in the Three Lions’ 24-man party, with Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish once again missing out on his first call-up ahead of the two Nations League clashes.
But Rashford has failed to return to full fitness after a busy end-of-season schedule with Manchester United, where it’s claimed he was playing through the pain barrier with an ankle problem.
Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks has also been forced to pull out which sees Grealish called up to the senior set-up for the first time time in his career.
‘Gutted, never want to let this team down but these fixtures just came a little too soon for me,’ Rashford tweeted.
‘I tried my best but I have to focus on starting the season at my strongest for club and country.
‘Good luck boys, I’ll be cheering you on from home.’
Southgate defended his initial decision to leave Grealish out by highlighting the wealth of attacking talent he has to choose from at present.
‘Well the difficulty for Jack is Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford,’ the England head coach explained.
‘We’ve got incredible players in those positions. We’ve got competitions for places.
‘Those four have either been with us for a long time and have been exceptional in their performances for us in terms of Marcus and Raheem.
‘Jadon is just breaking through, everybody is aware of his potential and Mason Greenwood’s goalscoring record and performances with Manchester United were outstanding. We’ve got players like Callum Hudson-Odoi as well.
‘I know, at times, Villa play Jack as a midfield player, that’s not where I see him in the way that we play.
‘So with us he would be a wide player or a No.10 and I think we’ve got players at the moment that deserve to be in just ahead of him.’