Former England captain Alan Shearer thinks caretaker boss Gareth Southgate should drop Wayne Rooney in favour of his Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford. The 18-year-old striker has been a revelation ever since he made his debut in February – and Shearer believes Rashford should start England's World Cup qualifier against Malta on 8 October.

Rashford was one of few bright sparks during England's dismal Euro 2016 campaign, but was subsequently relegated to the under-21s due to his peripheral role at United during the early games of the season. Since then, however, he has featured more prominently and Shearer thinks Rashford represents the Three Lions' future.

"Marcus Rashford should not just be in this England squad but the team for the game against Malta," he wrote of the United youngster in The Sun. "Give him his first competitive start and let us see what he can do.

"He has been knocking on the door until now. He is crashing on it with his performance for Manchester United. To be fair caretaker boss Gareth Southgate could play anyone up front and win this game, so why not give Rashford his chance? This is a young player with pace, trickery, awareness and a great eye for goal."

Shearer claimed that although Rooney is the current United and England captain, he does not merit a place in the national side. Instead, he suggested playing Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli behind Rashford.

"The question... is who plays just behind him? It should not be Wayne Rooney. He has not started in the last three games for his club and doesn't look like getting back into this Manchester United side," Shearer said of Rooney.

"This is why I said it would have been better for him to retire from international football after the Euros. He can no longer do it for club and country, right now he can't even do it for his club and that is what he needs to concentrate on to have a chance of extending his career.

"I would put Dele Alli in behind Rashford. He scored a good goal yesterday and is another name for the future, a player who can unpick defences and excite. The form Raheem Sterling has been in, yesterday aside, should also allow him the chance to begin his rehabilitation in the national side."