Marcus Rashford believes Jadon Sancho can play a major role in England beating Germany on Tuesday night – even if the Borussia Dortmund winger does not get on the pitch for the Euro 2020 round of 16 clash.
Sancho, 21, played his first six minutes of the finals as a late substitute in the 1-0 Group D win over the Czech Republic last week.
His lack of game time has been a surprise to some, with Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka selected ahead of him for the Czech game and winning the man of the match award for his performance.
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Sancho has had to be patient and it is unlikely he will start against Germany at Wembley – but his knowledge of playing with and against a large number of their squad could help England work out a way to win the tie.
“In a way, yes, because he’s played a lot of football against them, more than the rest of us,” Rashford replied when asked if Sancho could be Gareth Southgate’s most valuable asset ahead of the Germany game.
“I’m sure he knows the players, their characteristics, strengths and weaknesses and he’s definitely someone that can exploit them.
“If one thing doesn’t quite work we have a big opportunity to change things and adapt in the game.
“Adaptability is one of the biggest skills in football and there’s a lot of times in a game where you have to change or tweak something slightly to hurt your opponents.
“The fact that he’s played against them a lot, he’s hurt them a lot as well, it will be a big factor for us.”
Rashford has also yet to start a game at Euro 2020, coming off the bench in all three group matches.
The 23-year-old is another member of Southgate’s squad whose experience outweighs his age and the Manchester United forward has no concerns that the occasion of facing Germany will prove daunting to one of the youngest squads at the finals.
“To be honest they are just ready to go,” he told the Official England Podcast when asked about the younger players.
“A lot of them play at big clubs and have played in big games already, despite them being so young.
“It is nothing for them to fear really, it is something they have taken in their stride and, looking back when I first got into the team, it is what you want to do, just do those things that come naturally to you and take it in your stride.”