England manager Gareth Southgate says he regards Marcus Rashford as a senior player after defending the decision to pick him for the upcoming games against Scotland and France.
Southgate had previously indicated he would like young players to get tournament experience with the national U21s side but Manchester United striker Rashford will not feature in the European Championships in Poland this summer.
Former England U21 boss Southgate defended his decision, insisting Rashford had proved to be an increasing key figure for club and country as the season progressed.
„When you are talking about young players you need to look at what is right for the individual,“ he said.
„With Marcus, if we had had the conversation in November, December I would have been looking for him to be involved with the U21s if at all possible.
„As the season has gone he has become a more integral part of Manchester United’s team.
„I thought his contribution for us in March [as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Germany and 2-0 win over Lithuania] was excellent, not only in the matches where I thought he had a really good impact but also on the training pitch and around the camp.
„In my eyes he is a senior player. He has played less for the U21s in this cycle of games than Eric Dier and we wouldn’t be talking about Eric Dier going [to the European U21 Championship].
Watch the World Cup Qualifier between Scotland and England on June 10. Coverage begins on Sky Sports 1 HD and Sky Sports 5 HD at 4pm.