England news: Marcus Rashford set for senior return against Malta after being omitted from Under-21s squad

The 18-year-old was demoted to the youth side for the 1-0 victory against Slovakia

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Marcus Rashford appears set to be recalled to the England senior set-up for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia after he was left out of Aidy Boothroyd's Under-21 squad.

The 18-year-old was demoted to the youth side by Sam Allardyce for the 1-0 victory against Slovakia earlier this month but the ex-Sunderland boss has left the Football Association after been named in a Daily Telegraph sting investigation into third party ownership.

Gareth Southgate, the England caretaker manager, worked with Rashford as head coach of the Under-21s and is now likely to reward the Manchester United striker for his form this season. 

Former Middlesbrough manager Southgate will fill the void left by Allardyce's departure for the next four matches, leaving Boothroyd to navigate the Under-21s fixtures against Kazakhstan and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Speaking after taking over from Allardyce on a temporary basis, Southgate admitted he is walking into a “difficult situation” but backed himself to succeed until a permanent replacement can be appointed.

“It’s obviously been a difficult situation for the FA but it was important that there was some stability and continuity for everybody,” the 46-year-old said. 

“So, from my point of view, it was important to step forward and give us the best possible chance to win these games. The fact that I know so many of the support team and the players already is really important, given the time that we have to prepare for these matches. 

“With my experience with the U21s in international football, and having worked with so many of the players who have moved up to the seniors as well, then I think we are in a good position to prepare for these games.”

England Under-21 squad in full

Goalkeepers: Jonathan Mitchell (Derby County), Jordan Pickford (Sunderland), Freddie Woodman (Newcastle United).

Defenders: Calum Chambers (Middlesbrough, loan from Arsenal), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Brendan Galloway (West Bromwich Albion, loan from  Everton), Rob Holding (Arsenal), Mason Holgate (Everton), Dominic Iorfa (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Matt Targett (Southampton).

Midfielders: Lewis Baker (Vitesse Arnhem, 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, loan from Chelsea), Demarai Gray (Leicester City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Duncan Watmore (Sunderland).