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Man United's Marcus Rashford could play in England U21 friendlies - sources

Steve Nicol and Sebastian Salazar discuss Jose Mourinho's grooming of Marcus Rashford amid reports the young striker is unhappy.

England manager Gareth Southgate is considering allowing Marcus Rashford to be selected for the under-21 friendlies against Germany and Denmark this month, sources have told ESPN FC.

The games come ahead of the Manchester United forward's potential involvement in the European U21 Championships in Poland this summer.

Southgate is assessing options for the senior team before naming his squad for the forthcoming friendly against Germany in Dortmund and the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley.

And sources said Rashford could yet be overlooked for the full team in order for him to be given guaranteed action with Aidy Boothroyd's U21.

Rashford, 19, scored a hat trick on his one previous appearance at that level in a 6-1 victory over Norway in Colchester last year when Southgate was in charge of the team.

He was selected for the fixture after Sam Allardyce omitted him from the squad for his sole game in charge of England, against Slovakia, at the start of this season.

Rashford has since returned to the seniors under Southgate, winning caps against Slovenia, Scotland and Spain.

But with his starting opportunities at United having been restricted by the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic this season, he could miss out on a call-up for the Germany and Lithuania games.

Southgate and Boothroyd are both keen for Rashford to travel to Poland to underline their support for the Football Association's determination to ensure that every player eligible for the tournament is available.

Gareth Southgate has managed Marcus Rashford for the under-21s and the senior side.

But the prospect of Rashford being selected prompted United manager Jose Mourinho to raise objections in October.

He said: "If he becomes a regular in the national team and established, then to say it is important for his development with the U21s makes no sense.

"It's the same that he's a regular here with us, and then we are going to play him in the Under-23 Championship because we want to beat somebody and he can give us a help in that.

"Let's see what happens. If he's an U21 player then he is an U21 player and there is no discussion about that.

"But if he becomes a regular choice for Gareth Southgate in the first team, then we have to speak because we don't want him going [to Poland]."

With Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and captain Wayne Rooney regarded as guaranteed selections in the senior squad this month barring injury, Southgate is likely to draft in only one more forward from a list including Rashford, Theo Walcott, Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll.

Southampton forward Nathan Redmond is being considered but is also eligible for the U21s and may remain with Boothroyd's squad to boost preparations for Poland.

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

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