World Cup 2018: Manchester United's Ashley Young backs team-mate Marcus Rashford to be major player for England
Ashley Young feels his Manchester United team-mate Marcus Rashford has the potential to ‘set the world alight’ and is sure the forward will be a ‘major player’ for England at this summer’s World Cup.
Young has also expressed his confidence in the entire squad in terms of the Three Lions ‘going there to try to win’ the tournament in Russia.
While Rashford, 20, has been in and out of the United starting line-up under Jose Mourinho, he scored 13 goals for the club last season to take him to a total of 32 in all competitions since being handed his Red Devils first-team debut by Louis van Gaal in February 2016.
He registered a brace on that debut, in the Europa League, and has also netted on his Premier League, EFL Cup, Champions League, England Under-21 and England senior bows.
Asked how he felt Rashford would cope with his first World Cup, Young said: “I think he’s going to cope really well.
“I’ve said it from the time I saw him in the youth team – he’s got a massive future ahead of him. He’s a fantastic player and if he keeps going the way he is, he can set the world alight.
“It’s the World Cup coming up and that could be his stage to show everybody just how far he’s come from when he made his debut.”
Young added of Rashford, who has netted twice in 17 England appearances: “I think if you look at the goals he has scored on how many different debuts, it just shows in itself he steps up in the big games and he can produce.
“He’s definitely been fantastic for us at United and he’s definitely going to be a major player for us at the World Cup.”
The pair are part of what is set to be the third-youngest squad to represent England at a World Cup, with Young the oldest member of Gareth Southgate’s 23-man party.
The 32-year-old feels it is a “fantastic group” with “some exciting players who can change a game in a moment”, and said: “For me, the squad can achieve as much as it wants to.
“I think there’s definitely going to be a good tournament from this England squad.
“We are focused on going to the World Cup, and not just being out there – it’s going there to try to win a World Cup, and I have every confidence in everyone’s ability in the squad that we can go and do that.”
Heading to a first World Cup himself marks the continuation of Young’s impressive rejuvenation, which last November saw him make his first England appearance in more than four years.
After years as a winger, the former Aston Villa player – who has been capped 33 times and scored seven goals for England – has been catching the eye as a full-back for United.
And Young stressed with regard to that: “I still see myself as an attacker, especially with the way that we play, with the full-backs or wing-backs high up. I would rather be in the attacking half than defending.”
He added: “I think if you’re aware on the pitch, have a good footballing brain and read the game well you can play in any position. I think I’m one of those players who has a good footballing brain.
“Wherever the manager calls upon me to play I go and give 100% for the England shirt and to do as well as I can.”