Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has launched a fierce defence of his use of Marcus Rashford by insisting "he is not Dominic Solanke or Ruben Loftus-Cheek" while hitting out at "compulsive liars".
Rashford has featured at times on the flanks but with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard also in the reckoning, starts have been few and far between.
However, he has struggled to hold down a regular first-team place under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford and will be suspended for United's next three domestic games after being sent off at Burnley before the worldwide break.
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"He's a huge admirer of him, but he's got his job to do".
"I understand the difficulties that club managers have".
Like with so many others in the England squad, though, that confidence can only be maintained if Rashford plays for his club, no matter what he has achieved so far and the impressive comparisons he has drawn.
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Southgate made sure not to say anything that could be perceived as critical of Pep Guardiola, but the England manager believes it is part of a wider problem that is squeezing out some of the country's better players. They have to try and win matches.
"Jose thinks the world of Marcus", he said.
"He is not going to give up trying to prove himself at United but he knows he may have a big decision to make soon".
"The most important thing of all is that the kid is a good kid, a good player, knows what Manchester United did for him, starting in the academy, then Mr Van Gaal's support, my support, the club's support, a new contract, new shirt, and selected for every single match". He's got huge competition for places at his club, so you can understand that (frustration). They have to rotate their squads.
'In 2017-18, 35 Premier League matches, eight in Champions League, five in FA Cup, three League Cup matches and the European Super Cup final.
"I was delighted [with Rashford] because we really wanted to make him feel important over this period", Southgate said.