Marcus Rashford faces England axe with World Cup place in doubt - sources

Ogden: Rashford England absence would be 'no surprise' (1:08)

Mark Ogden expects Marcus Rashford to miss out on the next England squad after a drop in form and game time. (1:08)

Marcus Rashford is set to miss out on the England squad for the Wembley friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast later this month, as sources have told ESPN that the Manchester United forward is facing a battle to earn a place in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad.

Rashford, 24, has been absent from the England set-up since Euro 2020 due to shoulder surgery, which forced him out of action at United until October.

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But since scoring on his return to the team in a 4-2 defeat at Leicester on Oct. 16, Rashford has scored just five goals in 24 appearances for United, and his loss of form has led to him starting just two of the club's past 11 games in all competitions.

Rashford has now failed to score in his past seven games for United, and sources have told ESPN that England manager Southgate is unlikely to alter his stance of selecting only players who are performing regularly for their clubs when he names his squad for the Switzerland-Ivory Coast doubleheader next week.

While there is an acceptance within the England camp that Rashford's slump might be the result of him not completing preseason training because of his shoulder surgery, the number of in-form attacking players available to Southgate has sent Rashford, who has started just one England game since October 2020, down the pecking order.

Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka are all certain to be selected by Southgate this month, with United winger Jadon Sancho expected to return to the squad.

West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen, who is battling a heel injury, is in contention for his first senior call-up, and the return to fitness of Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, regarded by Southgate as cover for Kane, also might impact Rashford's chances.

Sources have told ESPN that Southgate is also an admirer of Crystal Palace forward Eberechi Eze, but the 23-year-old is not expected to make the next squad after struggling to regain his form following a lengthy injury lay-off.

With so many players now ahead of Rashford in England's attacking options, sources have said that time is running out for him to win back his place in the squad with only two international breaks, in June and September, scheduled before Southgate names his squad for Qatar 2022.