Marcus Rashford scores hat-trick in England Under-21s debut

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Marcus Rashford scored a hat-trick on his England Under-21 debut as they thrashed Norway in a European Under-21 Championship qualifier.

The Manchester United man has scored on his debuts in the Premier League and Europa League, as well as for England’s senior side and now the U21s.

The 18-year-old struck from 18 yards before adding a deflected second and scoring a penalty for his third.

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Nathaniel Chalobah, Reuben Loftus-Cheek and Lewis Baker also scored.

The comfortable win means Gareth Southgate’s men are now two points clear of Switzerland at the top of their group, with two games left to play and a game in hand on their nearest opponents.

Norway, who had briefly made it 4-1 through Ghayas Zahid’s header, remain third. The top team in each group is assured of reaching next year’s tournament in Poland, with the team finishing second going into a play-off.

After omitting him from his first senior squad before the recent World Cup qualifiers, England boss Sam Allardyce said Rashford’s inclusion in England’s Under-21s “will be invaluable for us later down the line”.

The former Sunderland and Bolton boss also suggested that he would not pick players who were not playing regularly for their club sides.

Marcus-Rashford

 

In the past it’s been a case of some of the players joining up who haven’t played that much for their teams. And that’s a bit of a concern,” added Allardyce.

Rashford has played just 19 minutes in the Premier League for Jose Mourinho’s side this season, coming off the bench to score a late winner against Hull City.

Jose Mourinho’s United have won all three of their league games this season and play Manchester City on Saturday.

Southgate said before the game that he had been impressed by Rashford’s mentality and he will have been even more pleased by his performance.

In front of the watching England boss Sam Allardyce, the teenager made a perfect start to his Under-21 career with a powerful run and finish for his first goal on 29 minutes.

He added his second with a shot that took a slight deflection that put his side 4-0 up and made it five with a composed penalty after his cross into the box was handled by a Norwegian defender.

Next year, he would be eligible to play at both the Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, where England have already booked their place among the 24 competing nations, and the European Under-21 Championships in Poland.

Rashford told BT Sport after the game: “It was a good debut to have and I thought Norway did well despite the scoreline.

“It was the first penalty I’ve scored since I turned professional so that was my favourite goal

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