Much analysis of Roy Hodgson’s decision to call up Marcus Rashford to his pre-Euro 2016 England training squad has centred upon whether or not the 18-year-old really stands a chance of making the final 23-man group.
Installed at 100/1 to land the tournament’s golden boot compared to the 16/1 about Harry Kane, or 33/1 for Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney or Jamie Vardy to achieve the feat, the prospect seems to remain distant.
One thing that is certain, however, is that the Hodgson has past form for being ahead of the curve when it comes to his ‘shock’ summer call-ups.
John Stones ultimately missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup, but his selection for the pre-tournament get-together foreshadowed a campaign in which he became the most coveted defensive prospect in the domestic game.
However, the Croydon tactician’s prescience reached even higher levels last summer when none other than Jamie Vardy was issued a surprise invitation.
Speaking ahead of the Three Lions’ June clashes with the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia in 2015, he justified the Sheffield-born striker’s inclusion as follows:
“His latter part of the season with Leicester through the ‘Great Escape’ [Vardy bagged three during their last ten league games of 2014/15 and assisted as many more] has been really excellent.
“I watched him when he was still at Fleetwood and players who have that pace and desire to run in behind defenders are always interesting for coaches.”
The very next campaign saw Vardy, doubtless emboldened by his international recognition, hit 24-goals in a title-winning side, breaking the divisional record for scoring in consecutive games along the way.
As such, Hodgson’s endorsement of Rashford carries extra weight and implies much is to be expected of the Manchester United teenager in 2016/17.