'Rashford wouldn't benefit from U21 games' - Man Utd striker's absence from Euros defended by Hargreaves

The former Red Devils midfielder feels the right decision has been taken, with the teenage forward working with Gareth Southgate's senior side

Marcus Rashford would get “no benefit whatsoever” from being in England’s squad for the European U21 Championship, says Owen Hargreaves.

The Manchester United forward is just 19 years of age and has represented the Young Lions on one previous occasion – netting a hat-trick in a qualification clash with Norway.

He has, however, also earned eight senior caps and is currently part of Gareth Southgate’s plans for fixtures against Scotland and France.

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Haregreaves believes that is the right call, with players of Rashford’s pedigree no longer in need of experience at youth level.

The former United and England midfielder told BT Sport: “If you’re 17 and playing in the first team like Wayne Rooney was, you don’t need to go to an under 21 tournament.

“For the players that want to get some tournament football yeah for sure, especially players that are playing in Championship teams, going to play tournament football against some of the best young players in the world is a brilliant experience.

“But if you’re Marcus Rashford carrying Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht and the semi-final against Celta Vigo, he’s proven his status and I don’t think he’d benefit whatsoever.”

Gareth Southgate England vs Malta 081016

Rashford is the only player in the current England squad under the age of 21, but the likes of Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane do complement experience with youthful exuberance.

Hargreaves added on those at Southgate’s disposal: “There’s a nice blend of players, Wayne Rooney is missing which is maybe a bit surprising considering he’s the captain but obviously not featuring for Manchester United.

“I think Gareth has placed an importance on players that play, Jake Livermore is a great example of that and you can find a way to earn a place which I think is great.

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“Friendlies are good for preparation and giving young players an opportunity but at the end of a long season the friendlies won’t be the focus for everybody.

“The competitive games are super important and obviously the Scotland game is a massive fixture for everyone, but maybe the friendly is just an opportunity to try things.

“There’s a lot of great young talent within England I just think now they need to make a great team, rather than just having great individuals.

“Hopefully these players can come together and make a successful team because that’s what we need.”