Manchester United vs Fenerbahce: Jose Mourinho to make Marcus Rashford plea as he considers squad rotation

Mourinho could hand recalls to captain Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryam while he confirms that Luke Shaw will start Thursday's encounter at Old Trafford

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho will request that Marcus Rashford does not represent England in the Under-21 European Championships if he has established himself as a regular in the senior national squad by next summer.

The Manchester United forward, who turns 19 on the last day of this month, has been the subject of conjecture, with FA sources insisting they want players of his calibre to appear in the under-21 tournament in Poland next June.

The idea forms part of the FA’s plan to hand their emerging stars experience in big tournaments to aid in their development towards the senior level.

But while his club manager insists he has no problem with Rashford playing in Poland, should he remain part of an under-21 squad now managed by Aidy Boothroyd, he will battle the FA on the subject if he has established himself in the senior squad by then.

"We are in mid-October, the Championships will be in the summer," said the United manager. "I think we have to wait and see what happens until then.

"Because if the player becomes a regular in the A national team, if you want to call it that. If he becomes a regular in the A national team and established, then to say it is important for his development with the under-21s, 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 under-21 player in the national team, then he is an under-21 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."


Rashford has five caps to date, a goalscoring debut in a friendly against Australia last season, and four substitute appearances in European Championship finals and World Cup qualifiers.

Mourinho was speaking as he put the finishing touches to plans for the Europa League group game with Fenerbahce at Old Trafford.

The game could be the opportunity for Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to start, as Mourinho juggles his squad ahead of Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.

Rooney has not started the last four United games and has also seen his international starting place disappear, under new manager Southgate.

“Wayne is working well, he is one of those responsible for the atmosphere for the players,” insisted Mourinho. “He is positive, he is a good example. We count on him to start or be on the bench. He will be there tomorrow.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has not played since the Manchester derby defeat (Getty)

As for Mkhitaryan, a £26m summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, the Armenian has not been involved since defeat in the Manchester derby in early-September as he struggles to recover from a thigh injury.

“He was injured and was injured for quite a long time,” said the manager. “Now he is not injured anymore. He has been training with the team without any limitation. 

“I cannot confirm if he plays tomorrow. Now he is fit and now it is time for him to go back to the levels we know he can achieve.”

The only player whom Mourinho would confirm starts against the Turkish side is England left-back Luke Shaw, who has not started a game since he earned criticism from the United manager in last month’s defeat at Watford.

Shaw claimed he has taken Mourinho’s criticism in his stride and is keen to learn from it.

Luke Shaw will start for United against Fenerbahce (Getty)

“Of course,” said Shaw. “I said before I’m a grown man and I can take what the manager said. 

“I’m still young and I need to take on board what he said and improve. I’m always going to listen to what the coach’s saying and have a good attitude about it.

“I was disappointed with the result but not what the manager said. I take it on board and look to improve. Hopefully I can do that in the next matches.”