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Gareth Southgate and Jose Mourinho to hold Marcus Rashford talks

MANCHESTER -- England manager Gareth Southgate will hold talks with Jose Mourinho over Marcus Rashford's international status after the Manchester United manager said it "doesn't make a lot of sense" for the striker to travel to this summer's European Under-21 Championships in Poland.

Rashford, 19, is expected to be selected for Aidy Boothroyd's squad despite making just one appearance for the U21s, which came last September.

But sources have told ESPN FC that Rashford's progress in recent months, both at United and with the England senior team, has sparked doubt within the Football Association over the merits of him being selected for Poland.

Since that game, in which Rashford scored a hat trick against Norway, he has won five senior caps under Gareth Southgate.

But after saying earlier this month that he was "powerless" to prevent Rashford from joining up with the U21s, Mourinho said he sees no value in him being forced to play in Poland.

Speaking after Rashford had scored the winning goal in United's 2-1 Europa League victory over Anderlecht on Thursday, the manager said: "I just feel that when a player reaches a certain level, it doesn't make a lot of sense to drop levels.

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"It's like now I am going to play him in our U23s, to win, let's say, a derby against Manchester City?

"No. Nicky Butt [United's head of Academy] doesn't pick him to play that game.

"He could by age, but when you reach a certain level, and you reach that level for a long time, I don't think it makes sense. But the power is in their [the FA's] hands."

Rashford's growing importance to United has been highlighted by the knee injury suffered by Zlatan Ibrahimovic against Anderlecht, raising the prospect of the youngster becoming the club's first-choice striker for the remainder of the campaign.

And sources have said there is now a view within the FA that Rashford's development has mirrored that of Tottenham's Dele Alli last season, elevating him to senior level and increasing importance to Southgate, whose team face Scotland in a World Cup qualifier in Glasgow in June.

Southgate and Mourinho are due to hold talks on Rashford before the end of the season prior to any decision being made.

Meanwhile, United and the FA face discussions over England youth international Axel Tuanzebe's participation in next month's U20s World Cup in South Korea.

Defender Tuanzebe has become a key figure with the U20s, but with United down to one fit centre-half following an injury to Marcos Rojo against Anderlecht, Mourinho has said he may be forced to use the 19-year-old in the coming weeks.

Tuanzebe has made just one senior appearance as a substitute in January's FA Cup win against Wigan.

The England U20 squad are due to fly to South Korea on May 8, more than two weeks before the Europa League final in Stockholm on May 24.

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_


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