England manager Sam Allardyce has warned Marcus Rashford he risks being demoted to the under-21s if he is not playing regular first-team football. The 18-year-old striker was one of few bright sparks during England's dismal Euro 2016 campaign, but has been an unused substitute for Manchester United during their first two Premier League fixtures of the season.
Rashford finds himself behind the in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the pecking order at Old Trafford and Allardyce has bemoaned the lack of playing time. The newly-appointed Three Lions boss has insisted his players must feature for their club sides on a regular basis in order to earn selection for the national team.
"Rashford is not playing [for United] now. It makes it harder for me to select him, as exciting as he was last year and how he burst onto the scene," Allardyce said of the United youngster, according to The Mirror. "At such a young age, do I say, 'Go play in the Under-21s. Get used to international football there'?"
Allardyce insisted playing regular first-team football with United is key to Rashford's immediate international future. "If he plays regularly, it will help him eventually and hopefully he'll break into the United team and then into the England senior team," Allardyce said of Rashford, who made his United debut in the Europa League earlier this year. "You've got all those scenarios to consider."
Allardyce is poised to name his first England squad on Sunday (28 August) as the Three Lions begin their 2018 Wold Cup qualification campaign with an away fixture against Slovakia on 4 September. Rashford is likely to face competition from the likes of Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe, among others, for a slot in Allardyce's first squad.