Rashford displacing Sterling?

Marcus Rashford scored two goals in his last two England games


The strange dismissal of Man City and England attacker Raheem Sterling

In a recent article about England lacking a maverick midfielder, Chris Waddle was extremely flippant in his assessment of Manchester City and England attacker, Raheem Sterling's efforts last season.

"He scored 22 goals last season, but - no disrespect - I would've scored 22 goals in that Manchester City team. Sterling is a wide player, who will upset full-backs and chip in, but he is not a natural goal scorer and he is not a game-changer. " Waddle told the BBC.

In the grand scheme of things, it's likely to be just a throw away comment about Sterling's qualities.

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Marcus Rashford makes his case for starting head of Raheem Sterling

By Joe Harker

Over the international break Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has been the brightest spark for the Three Lions. Scoring both of England's goals in a 2-1 defeat to Spain and a 1-0 win against Switzerland, he flourished in strike partnerships with Harry Kane and Danny Welbeck. It may be that playing as one of two strikers is Rashford's best position on the pitch but goals from a forward named something other than Kane is a welcome boost for England.

One player who might be concerned about Rashford's goalscoring is Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, who was unable to play for England due to a back injury. At the World Cup it was Sterling who England manager Gareth Southgate picked to start alongside Kane and the forward was criticised for his failure to score despite a number of attempts. While his excellent movement meant he was most often the man getting on the end of chances his finishing let him down and a number of opportunities were lost.

During the World Cup, Manchester Evening News writer Stuart Brennan argued that anyone advocating for dropping Sterling to make way for Rashford needed to "give their heads a wobble". Brennan admitted that Sterling's excellent goalscoring form at his club has not carried over to international level but insisted that he was playing a different role, there to pull defenders out of position and make space for others.

That may be true but England are lacking consistent goalscorers besides Kane and the Spurs striker cannot do it all by himself. The other man in the strike partnership has to shoulder a goalscoring burden.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Jason Burt argued that in future England games Rashford should be starting alongside Kane rather than being considered the backup striker who could come off the bench.

Neither Rashford nor Sterling have the best goalscoring record for England. Sterling has only scored twice in 44 appearances for the Three Lions, both goals coming during Euro 2016 qualification. Rashford's rate of five goals in 27 appearances is better but still not spectacular.

Both are young players who have endured some of England's toughest times in recent years and they each contribute a lot to an attack. If there was space for both of them to play alongside Kane then that might be the best solution, but that would mean other players elsewhere on the pitch would have to miss out.

In England's current 3-5-2 formation there is only room for one player to partner Kane and a change to the shape of the team would likely mean dropping someone from midfield. Southgate has recently played Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard in midfield when both would likely prefer to be further up the pitch. One of them would be the most likely candidate for being dropped if Rashford and Sterling are going to play together. There are no easy decisions for Southgate here.

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