Marcus Rashford gets Euro 2016 chance after Sturridge injury
Man United teenager can stake his claim against Australia as Liverpool star undergoes calf scan
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford is poised to make his senior England debut against Australia on Friday after Daniel Sturridge was forced out of training with a calf problem.
Rashford's journey this season has been described as a "bit of a fairytale" by Tottenham Hotspur midfielder and England colleague Eric Dier and once again the stars have aligned for the young United forward.
The 18-year-old made his Old Trafford debut just three months ago, after Anthony Martial was injured in the warm-up to the game against FC Midtjylland. He scored twice in the match and has made such an impression that he has been called up to Roy Hodgson's provisional squad for Euro 2016.
It had appeared as though Rashford's luck had run out after he limped off injured in the FA Cup final. But he quickly overcame a knee problem and it seems the dream is continuing.
Jamie Vardy has been given time off to get married, Harry Kane is to be rested and Sturridge has encountered another injury problem. It is not thought to be serious, but "given Sturridge's medical history, and sensitivities in rushing him back, Roy Hodgson may only have the United pair of Rashford and Wayne Rooney as his striking options", says The Times.
With "new doubts surrounding Daniel Sturridge's ability to stay fit throughout Euro 2016", The Guardian says Hodgson "is giving serious consideration" to playing Rashford from the start against Australia on Friday.
And if he takes his chance, it could leave Hodgson in a headache as he prepares to drop three players from his provisional squad of 26.
"On form and fully fit, there is no question Sturridge would be included in the final 23 heading to France," says the Daily Telegraph. "The dilemma may face the England coach if Rashford excels on his debut at the Stadium of Light – especially if Sturridge is still undergoing treatment."
Sturridge has played only 58 minutes of football for England since the World Cup in 2014 and the Three Lions' manager has been involved in several club-versus-country rows over the injury-prone striker.
"Hodgson is seriously worried about the player's physical and mental state," says the Daily Mirror. "There are concerns about Sturridge's confidence in his body after so many injuries, despite the player insisting he is desperate to go to the Euros."