MARCUS RASHFORD is Gareth Southgate’s teacher’s pet based on games played under the England boss.
The Manchester United forward, 22, has earned 33 of his 36 international caps under the current Three Lions chief since he took over from Sam Allardyce in September 2016.
That is five more than any other player, with the likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling way behind.
Kyle Walker – absent from recent squads – sits second with 28 caps in that time – level with Sterling and Eric Dier, another to miss out on recent selections.
John Stones and Jordan Henderson come in next with 27 caps apiece under Southgate – with Kane further back on 26 due to injuries during the boss’ reign.
Harry Maguire has won all of his 24 caps under Southgate with Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard – both part of the 2018 World Cup squad but now on the sidelines – also on that figure.
And Rashford looks almost certain to extend his lead at the top of the charts too with Sterling out of the game after a bust-up with Joe Gomez in the canteen of England’s St George’s Park HQ.
Sterling will sit the game out – along with the suspended Jordan Henderson – with Rashford tipped to start in the Manchester City winger’s absence.
Ahead of the Montenegro clash at Wembley, Southgate said: “The line-up against Spain was one of the youngest for decades.
“[Against Montenegro] I think we are going to be even younger than that.
“That obviously has some weaknesses, but it has some enormous strengths as well in terms of the enthusiasm, energy, motivation.
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“I think it’s a team that will excite people.”
Half of England’s 24-man squad are aged 22 or under – with the average age of the 3-2 win over Spain last year a shade over 23.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold, 21, Fikayo Tomori, 21, James Maddison, 22, Jadon Sancho, 19, and Mason Mount, 20, all potentially in line to start, it’s hard to see England not being younger.
This post written by Dave Fraser originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.