Marcus Rashford says he is fully committed to England and doesn’t care if onlookers criticize or question his dedication to the national team.
The 25-year-old is preparing for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, having pulled out of the March campaign through injury.
Rashford has had to pull out of many training camps over the years but his decision to head to New York sparked controversy as England won their Group C opener 2-1 in Italy.
Boss Gareth Southgate has defended the 51-cap striker’s decision to fly to the United States at the time, with the Manchester United striker saying he was unmoved by criticism.
“Honestly, I didn’t see it,” Rashford said. “I didn’t see it until I got home.
“I needed time to rest and recover, so I did a short trip, four days, then went back to rehab and get ready as soon as possible.
“With injuries, you can’t predict when they’re going to happen.
“Thankfully I’ve had very few muscle pulls and those kinds of injuries, but every once in a while you get impact injuries. Most of my injuries are like that.”
Asked if it hurt that people were questioning his commitment to playing for the national team, Rashford replied: “Honestly, no.
“I know I’m 100 percent committed to it and people will say what they want to say. It doesn’t really bother me.”
Rashford laughed it off as he was set to play his first qualifier since England’s 4-0 away win over Kosovo in November 2019 – before the fixtures were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic last international match.
He is certain to get playing time in Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier in Malta, but the availability of England’s Manchester City quintet is unclear.
Jack Grealish, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, John Stones and Calvin Phillips arrived at St George’s Park on Tuesday, days after celebrating their treble victory.
City join Manchester United as the only English side to win the Premier League, FA Cup and European Cup following Saturday’s Champions League victory over Inter Milan – a scarring moment for the city’s red half .
“Honestly, it’s not good [to see City’s success] But at the same time it’s football,” said United product Rashford.
“The best team who consistently play the best football will win the most trophies and they have won three trophies this year.
“Well done to them, we’re going to move on now, they’re going to keep going and the rest of us trying to catch up to them.”
Asked if City’s achievements provided extra motivation, Rashford said: “Yes, 100 per cent.”
Rashford’s focus is now squarely on international affairs as a relentless campaign finally bears fruit.
He has made 61 caps for club and country, an unprecedented campaign and the World Cup in Qatar comes at a time of year.
That number could reach 63 if he plays against Malta on Monday and North Macedonia at Old Trafford – a qualifying campaign just 23 days before United’s first pre-season game.
Asked if he needed to look at the calendar, Rashford said: “I think it’s obvious.
“It’s infuriating that at club level we’re playing against teams who play one game a week, three games a week from November until we’re knocked out of the Europa League.
“It’s difficult but at the same time we’re used to doing it and I don’t think it’s right.”
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