Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has not been included in the latest England Under-21 squad, suggesting he may have earned a recall to the senior set-up.
The 18-year-old’s fine form last season led to a Euro 2016 call-up, before a lack of club minutes at the start of this campaign saw him drop back down into the U-21 side.
Rashford scored a hat-trick on his debut in the 6-1 win over Norway, and has netted four times for United, but has nonetheless been left out of interim boss Aidy Boothroyd’s squad to face Kazakhstan and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The decision has led to speculation that he is in line for a return to the senior side, with interim boss Gareth Southgate – who handed him his U-21 debut – to name his squad for the World Cup qualifier against Malta this weekend.
Boothroyd has included Tammy Abraham and Jonathan Mitchell at this level for the first time, with the former firing in seven Championship goals for Bristol City since his loan move from Chelsea, earning him the PFA Player of the Month award.
“I’ve managed a lot of these players before with the U-20s a couple of years ago, so I do know most of them,” Boothroyd told the FA’s website.
“They’re obviously both very important games and there are no easy matches in international football.
“I only found out I was taking the U-21s late on Wednesday, so it’s been a case of handing over the U-20s to Paul [Williams] and the staff and now it’s about preparing for Kazakhstan and getting the U-21s ready.”
England Under-21 squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Jonathan Mitchell (Derby County), Jordan Pickford (Sunderland), Freddie Woodman (Newcastle United)
Defenders: Calum Chambers (Middlesbrough, on loan from Arsenal), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Brendan Galloway (West Bromwich Albion, on loan from Everton), Rob Holding (Arsenal), Mason Holgate (Everton), Dominic Iorfa (Wolves), Matt Targett (Southampton)
Midfielders: Lewis Baker (Vitesse, on loan from Chelsea), Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea), Isaac Hayden (Newcastle United), Will Hughes (Derby County), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), John Swift (Reading), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Bristol City, on loan from Chelsea), Demarai Gray (Leicester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Duncan Watmore (Sunderland)
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