Rashford has exploded back into form in recent months after he started ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester United’s starting line-u
Now, ex-United striker Sheringham has told the Sunday World that Rashford cannot be trusted to start alongside Harry Kane in the England line-up, as he suggested the forward lacks a ‘team ethic’ required in the biggest tournament of them all.
“I don’t think Rashford should be starting,” said Sheringham at a Gambling.com event.
“He gives England something different to the other forwards in the squad, but I’m not even sure what his best position is. I look at him and ask whether he is a winger, a No 10 or a No 9?
“Rashford has got great pace and can score a goal, but fitting him into a well-organised team is difficult. I wouldn’t really know where to put him.
“There’s other players that you can build your team around, such as Jack Grealish, Phil Foden or Bukayo Saka, who can each use their flair off the back of the team ethic. With Rashford, I’m not sure you get that.”
The uncertainty over England’s best starting line-up highlights the scale of their demise since their run of the final of the delayed Euro 2020 last year.
During that tournament, Southgate made minimal changes to his starting XI, with the settled nature of the team undoubtedly contributing to their success.
Now, there are doubts over the form of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, defensive talisman Harry Maguire and key forward Raheem Sterling, who were all crucial to their progress at the Euros.
It leaves Southgate with huge selection decisions to make heading into their first game. Yet, former goal ace Sheri believes Maguire will hold on to his place despite his disastrous form in 2022.
“I think Maguire will start because he’s never really let Gareth Southgate down,” said 1999 United treble-winner Sheringham, as he reflected on Maguire’s poor form.
“He’s had a bit of a rough time over the past couple of years at Manchester United, but he’s done OK with England.
“I look at Maguire and he has not been a leader for United in the last year or so. He has lost his way, but when he links up with the England squad, Gareth will work closely with the defence and make sure everyone knows what their properties are as defenders.
“Kieran Trippier has to start in a back four, he’s been absolutely fantastic for Newcastle since he’s been there.
“He’s made a real difference, and that’s difficult to do as a full-back, but his immense form is one of the main reasons they’re doing so well.
“If you are going to win the World Cup, you need a team with a good structure, and I think Gareth Southgate brings that for England.
“Sometimes people say he isn’t ambitious enough and he is too defensive-minded, but that is his nature. He was a defender himself.
“England have flair in there as well to win you games, and if you give them the solid base and don’t concede many goals, you give yourself a chance to win the World Cup.”
Sheringham’s solitary World Cup experience is laced with frustration. He started in Glenn’s Hoddle’s 1998 side before losing his place to an emerging Michael Owen.
“It was a tough time for me, personally, because I was in the starting line-up with Alan Shearer, but then we had a young lad named Michael Owen who came through the ranks, and there was a lot of pressure on the manager to play him,” he added.
“When he came onto the international scene he was a revelation, so the World Cup didn’t quite go as well as I’d hoped having been looking forward to it so much beforehand.
“But despite all that it was a great experience, although not quite up there with Euro ’96 when we came so close.
“All I would say to the England players is – make sure you have no regrets at the end of the tournament and do your best to come away with the trophy.”
* Teddy Sheringham was speaking at a Gambling.com event