Rashford makes England 26-man squad

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford

England manager Roy Hodgson has named Manchester United’s 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford in an initial 26-man squad for Euro 2016.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend are also called up for the tournament in France, which starts on 10 June.

But there is no place for Arsenal forward Theo Walcott or Everton defender Phil Jagielka.

The deadline for all 24 teams to submit their 23-man squads is 31 May.

Rashford only broke into the United first team in the second half of the season but quickly became a firm fixture.

He scored four times in his first two appearances and has seven goals from 16 games since making his senior debut on 25 February.

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Asked about Rashford’s chances of featuring in his final 23-man squad, Hodgson, 68, said: “The competition is quite strong, he’ll understand that.

“There’s no reason why he can’t knock someone off their perch, but it will be harder than some people might expect.”

Wilshere, 24, broke his leg in August and only made his first start of the season for Arsenal on Sunday.

He tweeted: “Absolutely buzzing! I can’t wait to meet up with the squad and start preparing for the Euros. Thanks for all the messages.”

Townsend, also 24, ended the campaign strongly despite his club’s relegation from the Premier League.

“Huge honour to be named in provisional England squad,” tweeted Townsend, who joined Newcastle in a £12m from Tottenham in January,

“Will give my all over next few weeks to try and make final squad!”

Responding to his omission, Walcott tweeted: “I am of course disappointed not to make the squad, but I have spoken with Roy and respect his decision.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker said the 26-man squad contained “bags of talented youngsters”.

He tweeted: “Great experience for them. Give them their wings, take pressure off, have fun and see where it takes us.”

Former England goalkeeper David James congratulated Rashford on his call-up but felt West Ham midfielder Mark Noble should have been included ahead of Wilshere.

England will play Wales, Russia and Slovakia at Euro 2016, which runs until 10 July.

They kick off their Group B campaign against Russia on 11 June, before facing Wales (16 June) and Slovakia (20 June).

England warm up for the tournament with matches against Turkey (22 May), Australia (27 May) and Portugal (2 June).

Hodgson said he would like to tell the 23 players who have made the final squad after the game against Australia.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley).

Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Andros Townsend (Newcastle United), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

Strikers: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United).

Analysis

Chief football writer Phil McNulty

There is still a good chance Rashford will miss out when the squad is whittled down to 23 for France, but it is a sign of his progress that he is included while Walcott misses out.

Hodgson, predictably, has included Wilshere despite being injured for virtually the entire season.

The Arsenal player is a key figure if fit, Hodgson having used him at the base of a diamond formation and also as a creative force, as shown by his two goals in the 3-2 qualifier win in Slovenia.

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson appears to have regained fitness in time, but both of these players will be under scrutiny in the three pre-Euro 2016 friendlies.

England’s defensive heart is arguably the most suspect part of Hodgson’s team and perhaps reflected in just three recognised central defenders – Smalling, Cahill and Stones – being selected.

Tottenham’s Eric Dier is picked as a holding midfield player but will act as central defensive cover.

England look well blessed with attacking options but there must still be very big question marks for the defence when facing opposition of the highest quality at Euro 2016.

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