GOOD old Michael Owen.
After battering Alan Shearer and David Beckham in his book, he went rogue on a current England player this week.
Owen, who scored 40 times in 89 appearances for his country, claims Marcus Rashford does not obsess about putting the ball in the back of the net.
Ouch. Rashford, with four goals in his last seven internationals, clearly disagrees.
The England striker, starting tonight’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria at Wembley, said: “I could use Harry Kane as an example.
“He’s one of the best I’ve played with and whenever we do finishing, in my head, it’s about being as close to him as possible.
“If he scores seven, I want to score eight.
“So little things like that are the bits people never see, even though we’re fighting for the same position — or to be in the same team.
“We really do drive each other on and it’s important that you have that sort of atmosphere within a team.”
Gareth Southgate has nurtured a competitive environment — but he still has concerns about Rashford’s development.
As Manchester United’s first-choice central striker, Rashford runs into a brick wall when he joins up with England.
Captain Kane is almost impossible to displace.
It means Rashford is shunted wide, doing his bit on one wing with Raheem Sterling providing support on the other.
Southgate is demanding to see improvements this week — plus ordering him to take more responsibility on the pitch. The feeling with the England set-up is that Rashford goes missing without the ball.
Boss Southgate said: “He has been a really consistent performer for us — a regular goalscorer and an important part of our team for a couple of years.
“It’s great to see him having additional responsibility at United. But from our perspective, he’s one of a number of exciting attacking players we have — and that competition for places is a great thing for us whoever starts.”
There is also an increased threat from Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho.
Southgate is trying to keep it all under wraps — but he is now eyeing Sancho up for a starting spot next summer.
Rashford added: “For me, it’s exciting. For England, for the players, for the fans.
“Without the pressure in football it wouldn’t be the same, the atmosphere wouldn’t be the same.
“Pressure is the thing that draws people to the game, because you’re unsure what’s going to happen. That’s what makes the sport beautiful.”
But Rashford keeps his place this evening, winning his 33rd England cap alongside Kane and Sterling.
His last Three Lions goal was against Holland in the Nations League semi-finals in June, putting England in front from the spot during a 3-1 defeat in Portugal.
But Kane will be on penalty duty tonight. Rashford, who missed from the spot against Palace last month, confirmed: “Harry’s penalty record is unbelievable and that’s a way for him to get his goals.
“The players, the squad and the staff all support that.”
But restless Rashford, 21, is always trying to push himself to improve in every way.
He added: “When you play well and your team wins, of course you’re very happy. But when you go home, you’re automatically looking back at the game and thinking, ‘Where could I have got more goals?’
“For forwards now, even for wingers, it’s all about the end product — which is goals and assists.”
The squad starts the international season against Bulgaria with everybody bigging up this England side.
After reaching the World Cup last four in 2018 and beating Spain to a spot in the Nations League semi-finals, England are now being talked about as potential Euro 2020 winners.
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