Marcus Rashford looks set to receive a recall to senior England duty after being omitted from the latest U21 squad for upcoming 2017 European Championship qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Manchester United striker did not travel to Slovakia earlier this month for Sam Allardyce's first and only game in charge of the Three Lions, instead staying behind to net a hat-trick for Gareth Southgate's young side in their 6-1 drubbing of Norway.
An initial lack of regular first-team football at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho was the reason for Rashford not being included for that late victory in Trnava, but since then he has netted four goals in six appearances at club level. Such an impressive run, which began with a last-gasp winner at Hull City, includes strikes in three consecutive matches against Watford, Northampton Town and Leicester City.
Southgate had previously extolled the virtues of Rashford continuing his international development with the U21s, yet his own promotion to interim manager for the next four fixtures in the wake of Allardyce's ignominious departure looks set to coincide with the 18-year-old's swift return to senior action. The squad for next week's 2018 World Cup qualifying double header against Malta and Slovenia is set to be named on Sunday (2 October).
With Southgate now in a new role for the time being, England U20 coach Aidy Boothroyd will assume responsibility for the U21s in his absence. The former Watford, Colchester United, Coventry City and Northampton boss has named a 22-man squad to travel to Aktobe on 6 October before hosting Bosnia in Walsall five days later, with Chelsea's prolific Bristol City loanee Tammy Abraham deservedly handed a maiden call-up after scoring 10 times in his first 13 Championship appearances.
"I've managed a lot of these players before with the U20s a couple of years ago, so I do know most of them," said Boothroyd, who will meet up with his players at St George's Park on Sunday night. "They're obviously both very important games and there are no easy matches in international football. I only found out I was taking the U21s late on Wednesday, so it's been a case of handing over the U20s to Paul [Williams] and the staff and now it's about preparing for Kazakhstan and getting the U21s ready."
England's U21s, who won the prestigious Toulon tournament in May for the first time in 22 years, currently top qualifying Group 9 and require just one win from their final two matches to seal a place in Poland next summer.